Richmond City Council: Ban Foam (Polystyrene/EPS) Food Service Packaging

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Dear Mayor and Councillors,

After seeing first-hand the amount of styrofoam littering our beaches in Richmond, I am calling on Richmond's Mayor and Councillors to ban the use of EPS/Polystyrene take out containers at food service businesses (including restaurants, food trucks and city events), ensuring that all containers are easily recyclable (blue bin) or compostable. 

Many cities across North America are tackling the problem of EPS foam foodware by enacting bans. You can see a partial list of those cities here. 

The problems with EPS, or "styrofoam", take out containers are:

  • It does not biodegrade. It may break into small pieces, even minuscule pieces. But the smaller EPS gets, the harder it is to clean up.
  • It is made of fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals. Those chemicals may leach if they come in contact with hot, greasy or acidic food. Yes, they keep your coffee hot – but they may also add an unwanted dose of toxins to your drink.
  • Animals sometimes eat it. Turtles and fish seem to mistake EPS for food, and that can kill them. Not only can they not digest it, but the foam could be full of poisons that it has absorbed from contaminants floating in the water.
  • It can’t be (easily) recycled. EPS foam containers are not accepted in our Richmond blue box recycling programs. 

(Adapted from: Story of Stuff).

One only need look at our local beaches to see the tiny particles of foam that are littering the shoreline. Not only is EPS bad for us, it is environmentally-damaging for our oceans.

As an island city, we need to ban these harmful EPS take away containers immediately.

 

 



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