Public Hearing on Styrofoam Ban Tonight

The Burlingame City Council will hold a public hearing regarding banning Styrofoam use by food vendors at its meeting tonight.

City Council will take public input tonight on a potential ordinance banning local food vendors from using Styrofoam and other polystyrene-based serviceware.

This hearing comes after two informational meetings hosted by the and the Burlingame Chamber of Commerce encouraging the public to learn more about the potential ordinance and the harms of Styrofoam.

Non-recyclable Styrofoam is often found littered on the streets and breaks down into small pieces, which are harmful if ingested by wildlife.  Additionally, the substance contains dangerous chemicals that can seep into the food and liquid it holds, potentially causing cancer.

In place of Styrofoam, vendors can use any biodegradable, recyclable or compostable material, such as aluminum, paper, cardboard and certain plastics.

The ordinance would mirror the San Mateo County ordinance banning Styrofoam food service items used by local restaurants, cafes and other food vendors in unincorporated areas, which goes into effect July 1. Burlingame would put its ordinance in place Jan. 1.

Under the county ordinance, incorporated areas—such as Burlingame—can adopt the county regulations and use county enforcement, thereby saving Burlingame the cost of enforcement staff funding, according to staff reports.

Vendors found out of compliance with the ordinance face a fine of $100 for the first offense and up to $500 for the third violation.

The city has provided a list of cost comparisons and vendors of non-Styrofoam wares on its website.

Following the public hearing, staff recommends the City Council adopt the ordinance. 

For the full agenda of tonight's council meeting, click here.

Anjessello May 17, 2011 at 12:08 AM
Probably yes, since it's always littered and doesn't degrade.


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