San Jose considers banning styrofoam

February 25, 2013

San Jose is considering a ban on styrofoam that if successful would make it the largest city in the nation to nix the use of the non-biodegradable foamy plastic that easily contaminates waterways because of its light weight.

San Jose’s city council is voting on Tuesday whether to draft an ordinance that bans polystyrene food containers that are commonly used for take-out and other uses.

“San Jose is playing catchup at this point, there are about 30 cities with styrofoam bans in the Bay Area, some from a really long time ago. In the past three or four years, the number of other cities has increased,” said Save The Bay’s Allison Chan.

Save The Bay, California Clean Water Action and Save Our Shores support the proposed ordinance, citing environmental concerns.

Last year, the City of San Jose took a pivotal step in banning plastic bags in grocery stores and has since seen a 60 percent decrease in plastic bag litter in local creeks, according to Chan.

With such success of a plastic bag ban in just one year, the City hopes to see just as promising numbers with a styrofoam ban.

“We feel really good about continuing to push for policies like this. Over half the Bay Area lives in cities that ban plastic – San Jose can be a new model by passing a styrofoam ban,” Chan said.

On Tuesday, San Jose city council members will look at a draft of an ordinance, about which they can ask questions or make any amendments. If all goes as planned, city officials will begin drafting a final ordinance and conduct an  environmental review with the hopes of implementation this summer.



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