San Francisco Getting Stricter About Styrofoam

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This last week, San Francisco County Board of Supervisors banned the sale of the sale of polystyrene foam, more popularly known as Styrofoam, starting in 2017.

“I just passed the toughest anti-Styrofoam law in the country, and we did it unanimously,” Board of Supervisors President London Breed wrote on her Facebook page after the vote. “This is a huge step for our environment and health. San Francisco is on our way to leading the country on environmental policy—again!”

Polystyrene disintegrates very slowly taking centuries to break down entirely, which is contributing to the world’s pollution problem on land and in our oceans.

“The main challenge posed by Styrofoam is that it breaks into tiny little pieces, especially outside in the sun when it photodegrades,” Allison Chan, the Clean Bay Campaign manager for the Oakland, California–based organization Save the Bay, told TakePart. “It looks more and more like food and makes them feel full, and really, they’re malnourished and they can die from that condition.”

Those against the ban believe it will significantly hurt supermarkets that use polystyrene trays for meat because they are not given enough time to find a replacement package material.

The city Department of the Environment will have the power to make any necessary exceptions on this ban.

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