San Francisco approves comprehensive ban on sale of polystyrene.

  • Polystyrene food packaging and containers — typically referred to using one trade name, “Styrofoam” — have been the subject of criticism by stakeholders who claim that these non-biodegradable foam products pollute the environment and may harm wildlife.
  • On June 28, 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban the use of a wide variety of polystyrene products.  The legislation covers food packaging, packing peanuts, take-out containers and cups, among other items.
  • The board is expected to issue final approval of the ban on July 12.  Once enacted, the ban will take effect on January 1, 2017 for most products, although a later effective date of July 1, 2017 applies to meat and fish trays.  Although a number of cities have ordinances that restrict the use of polystyrene food service materials and/or packaging, San Francisco’s legislation is being described as the nation’s most extensive ban of this type.