USA's strictest ban on Styrofoam: foodware, packaging, coolers, toys, buoys and more (Food Service and Packaging Waste Reduction Ordinance), 2016
San Francisco, CA
How IT can benefit you
Styrene in foam foodware can leach into food and drink can cause cancer in humans. And polystyrene foam breaks into smaller, non-biodegradable pieces that are eaten by animals, which can harm or kill them.
The 2007 San Francisco Food Waste Reduction Ordinance banned Styrofoam foodware and required the use of compostable or recyclable foodware. A plastic-like product does not compost unless it has a logo of these certifiers: Biodegradable Products Institute, Din Certco AIB Vinçotte Inter (Belgium), Japan Bioplastics Association or Australian Environmental Labeling Association. So prohibited bags and foodware include ones with unsubstantiated claims like “green”, “environmentally friendly,” “biodegradable,” “degradable,” “will decompose,” “photodegradable,” “made from corn starch.” They have not been tested for compostability.
- Any foodware that is not either compostable or recyclable by the City
- Meat and fish trays and egg cartons
- Packing materials including shipping boxes and packing peanuts
- Coolers, ice chests, similar containers
- Pool or beach toys
- Dock floats, mooring buoys, navigation markers
Why this is a leading policy
The 2007 ordinance had the most comprehensive list of acceptable compostable and recyclable foodware compared to other food ban ordinances.
The 2016 Food Service and Packaging Waste Reduction ordinance bans the most foam products in the USA.
Protect our health and environment by creating zero waste.
Who can take action
Anyone can help violators get a friendly reminder.
City litter audits from 2007 to 2009 showed that there was a 41% decrease in Styrofoam use.
Public Outreach & Education
San Francisco Department of the Environment provides assistance to food providers through:
- "Styro-busters" that visit over 3,000 food service providers regarding how to comply.
- A list of compostable and recyclable foodware vendors nationwide.
- Outreach to all affected businesses for four years.
Jack Macy, Commercial Zero Waste Coordinator, San Francisco Department of the Environment, 415-355-3752, Jack.Macy@sfgov.org
August 1, 2016