EPS regulatory efforts shift to Los Angeles after statewide ban fails
- Two Los Angeles council members, Paul Koretz and Bob Blumenfield, recently introduced a motion to conduct a feasibility study on the effects of banning expanded polystyrene foam food containers, as reported by MyNewsLA.
- The pair had previously presented a resolution in support of state legislation, SB 705, that would have banned the use of EPS food containers by 2020. That bill narrowly missed Senate passage last month after multiple legislators chose to abstain, drawing criticism from the Los Angeles Times editorial board.
- In a press release from the group Californians Against Waste, SB 705 sponsor Senator Ben Allen voiced his support for this local approach and Blumenfield raised the specter of anti-environmental policy from Washington, D.C. as a motivating factor.
The Los Angeles City Council previously passed an ordinance requiring city departments to stop using EPS food products in 2008. The city's Bureau of Sanitation also made a determination in 2013 that it couldn't effectively recycle any EPS products contaminated with food. Now that the city has set a goal of 90% diversion by 2025 and is about to begin implementing a franchise collection system the topic has been receiving renewed attention.
More than 100 California cities have now enacted some form of EPS regulation. This aligns with the state's mandate of 75% diversion by 2020 and mirrors last year's vote to uphold statewide regulations on single-use plastic bags through a ballot referendum. Following recent reports of plastic beach litter and broader discussions of marine pollution, other state bills have also recently been introduced that take aim at different types of plastic packaging.
If Los Angeles does end up passing some type of EPS regulation it would join other large cities such as San Francisco and New York that have pursued similar policies. While a growing number of cities and counties around the country have also moved in this direction statewide policy remains a more elusive goal for environmental groups.
Follow Cole Rosengren on Twitter