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San Jose

San Jose Considers Plastic Foam Ban

San JoseSan Jose, Calif., will likely become the biggest city in the state, if not the US, to ban plastic foam food containers following a City Council vote today, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Proponents say the plastic foam, called “expanded polystyrene” or EPS, ends up in landfills because there’s no market for recycling the food takeout containers. They also argue alternatives such as paper and aluminum foil cost less, are less polluting and lower trash volume garbage collection rates, the newspaper reports.

But opponents, including restaurants, business groups and the plastics industry, say the takeout boxes can be recycled and worry if San Jose bans plastic foam, other cities will follow suit.

Restaurants, caterers, delis and other food providers will see operating costs rise San Jose adopts a ban, the California Restaurant Association warns. The industry group says expanded polystyrene containers are two to three times more affordable than replacement products, which in some cases do not perform as well, especially for very hot and cold food and beverages.

On the other side of the country, more than 1,000 New York City businesses have written letters urging the City Council to oppose the proposed ban on polystyrene foam food service products, according to Restaurant Action Alliance NYC.

If passed, the bill would make it illegal for food establishments to give customers polystyrene foam containers starting July 1, 2015. It would also also ban polystyrene packaging, or “packing peanuts.”

Restaurant Action Alliance NYC says the legislation, which would force New York City’s some 18,000 restaurant to use alternative takeout containers, would increase business costs. It cites a March study from MB Public Affairs that says for every $1 now spent on polystyrene foam products, restaurants will have to spend at least $1.94 on replacements.

Photo Credit: Jon Callas via Flickr


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