San Francisco’s Foam Ban Goes Too Far

San Francisco has approved a new citywide law on its foam ban, making it the most extensive ban on foam in the U.S. The city banned polystyrene foam Jan 1, 2017, which includes anything from takeout containers to egg cartons.

San Francisco has now enacted a new policy that condemns companies that violate this law. They are starting to fine companies that use foam packing. The initial fine starts at $100 and increases up to $500 for the third and subsequent violation.

The Board of Supervisors president, London Breed, who introduced the legislation said, “There are ample cost effective alternatives to Styrofoam on the market.”

The California Restaurant Association and The California Grocers Association have expressed concerns and have asked for more time to find other alternatives from polystyrene foam.

What Breed might not realize is that these alternatives cost two to three times as much as polystyrene products. Therefore, these expenses can be quite difficult for family-run restaurants and small businesses. Not only are alternatives more expensive, but they also don’t perform as well. Foam packaging can keep things hot as well as cold, and is able to handle the excess liquids of food and other products.

“The CRA believes that further expansion of foam recycling efforts and infrastructure is a better approach than a single discriminatory ban on a given type of packaging,” the group said in a statement. “Some localities that have banned foam food containers are now setting their sights on the next packaging material to eliminate, creating constant unpredictability for the industry in terms of what packaging material may be available on the market.” San Diego now offers curbside recycling and this implementation has been very successful. Curbside recycling is a great alternative to a foam ban and gives residents another opportunity to engage in recycling.

San Diego now offers curbside recycling and this implementation has been very successful. Curbside recycling is a great alternative to a foam ban and gives residents another opportunity to engage in recycling.

“I’m appalled,” says Betsy Steiner, a spokeswoman for the EPS Alliance. “We’re opposed to the plan (polystyrene foam ban). There are serious errors in their statistical representation” says Steiner.

Foam Bans San Francisco