Restaurant owners were very upset with a recent proposal to ban expanded polystyrene food containers by Encinitas City Officials. Alternative materials, such as wax-paper, would be very costly for business owners.
The city held a community meeting in September, which was attended by local residents to address the Environmental Commission about the ban and discuss the pros and cons of EPS foam containers.
October 14th was the proposed first reading of the ordinance, but has been delayed indefinitely until all interested parties can be more engaged in the decision. The ban would apply to restaurants, delis, coffee shops, farmers’ markets, and supermarkets. Various restaurant owners have spoken out, arguing that the ban would affect low-cost restaurants whose primary business is take-out food. As a result of the increased prices, some of the establishments will be forced to close their doors.
In addition, paper alternatives are not always the better choice. Polystyrene foam containers consume less energy than paper containers, have lower atmospheric emissions, and contribute less to waterborne wastes than bleached paper products when both types of products are manufactured.
Further, paper products have not shown to perform as well as polystyrene does for consumers. Recently, a local restaurant, Surf Brothers Teriyaki switched over to paper products, but after a week-long trial period with the products, they have received numerous complaints about the effectiveness of the products. They have since switched back to EPS foam containers.
The reality: EPS foam containers cost just a few pennies for restaurants. Foam alternatives, such as waxed paper, are not better for the environment and will put many Americans out of business if the ban is put into effect.