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August 23, 2012

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Assembly food packaging ban vote expected within the week

Restaurant operators and other industry players are strongly encouraged to contact their Assemblymembers to encourage them to vote against SB 568 (Lowenthal), which would effectively halt current efforts to recycle foam food containers across the state.  A vote of the Assembly is expected within the next week.

Polystyrene foam food packaging containers are being recycled in various regions of the state, including some school districts and residential curbside pickups. There is a growing secondary market for used foam as it is recycled and used to make new picture frames and some green building materials such as crown molding and base boards.

The California Restaurant Association (CRA) believes further expansion of foam recycling efforts and infrastructure is a better approach than a single discriminatory ban on a given type of packaging. Foam food packaging may be the target today, but it is clear that this is the first in a long list of packaging materials that could be targeted in the near future. Some localities that have banned foam food containers are now setting their sights on the next packaging material to eliminate, creating constant unpredictability for the industry in terms of what packaging material may be available on the market.

Speaking out about this concern is essential. SB 568 (Lowenthal) will effectively ban foam food containers and put an end to the current recycling efforts underway and the expansion of these efforts. 

For more information, contact Matt Sutton, senior legislative director, at msutton@calrest.org.

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