On Tuesday, August 27, 2013, the City Council of San Jose passed a vote on banning polystyrene (PS) foam fast food packaging. San Jose is a major US city with around 1 million inhabitants and as such the first to enact a complete ban on PS food packaging.
Polystyrene foam is also known as expanded polystyrene (EPS). EPS is widely used as fast food packaging material. Alternatives to EPS exist but are more expensive. The reason for banning EPS in San Jose is the associated environmental pollution, due to a lack of recycling possibilities and littering. PS has also been shown to contain endocrine disrupting chemicals (Ohyama et al. 2001).
The San Jose PS ban will become effective in 2014.
San Jose approves foam food container ban. San Jose Mercury News. August 28, 2013.
Ohyama, K. I., et al. (2001). “Certain styrene oligomers have proliferative activity on MCF-7 human breast tumor cells and binding affinity for human estrogen receptor.” Environmental Health Perspectives 109(7): 699-703.