- Businesses in Washington, D.C. are preparing for the city's Jan. 1 ban on expanded polystyrene food service products, which passed in 2014. The goal is to reduce the volume of foam cups and containers entering waterways and landfills.
- The D.C. Department of Energy and Environment has issued proposed rules to implement the ban. The rules affect food containers, plates, hot and cold beverage cups, meat and vegetable trays, and egg cartons. The only exemptions are food or beverages that were filled and sealed in polystyrene containers before the food service business received them, and packaging for raw meat, fish, poultry or seafood for off-premises consumption.
- Businesses that violate the ban per the regulations will be subjected to a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 for the second, $400 for the third and $800 for the fourth and subsequent offense.
Washington, D.C. joins a list of cities that ban foam products. These bans have been controversial, as some restaurant owners say Styrofoam is recyclable and the alternative products are too expensive.
However, Dunkin' Donuts has identified the #5 recyclable polypropylene cup as an alternative that it already uses in New York City in response to its Styrofoam ban. Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Brenda Morrow said it will shift to a paper cup alternative before the end of the year. These companies are looking ahead, and other food servers in the city could look to them as an example.
Washington has also shown environmental concern with its plastic bag fee, which is designed to keep the bags out of waterways and fund cleanup efforts.