On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council voted 9-2 to adopt an ordinance that prohibits foodservice establishments from using to-go containers made from Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).
The city council originally took up the measure in February, which drew many restaurateurs to testify against a ban on takeout EPS containers. They shared their concerns that a ban would have a financial impact on their businesses and the alternative products don’t perform as well keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. Despite a strong presence from restaurant operators and advocacy efforts against a ban, the city council was adamant at the February City Council meeting and most recently earlier this week to move forward with a ban to-go foam containers.
The California Restaurant Association and our coalition partners proposed the idea of recycling foam material, such as packaging and food ware. Sixty-seven local jurisdictions in California have successfully implemented foam-recycling programs. Before the final vote Tuesday, many restaurant operators had contacted their local elected officials to discuss their concerns with a ban; however, their requests for meetings went unanswered.
The ordinance will require national chain operators in San Jose to comply by Jan. 1, 2014. Smaller restaurants have until Jan. 1, 2015. Businesses earning less than $300,000 can apply for financial hardship exemption if they can’t find an affordable alternative product or if there is no suitable alternative product for certain types of foods.
For more information, contact Javier Gonzalez, local government affairs director, at 408.416.6344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.