Bay City News

Contra Costa Supes to Mull Ban on Polystyrene Food, Beverage Containers

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning will consider an ordinance prohibiting the use of polystyrene food and beverage containers at restaurants, food trucks and other vendors.

The ordinance would go into effect May 1, 2020, and would only affect businesses operating on unincorporated county land.

Certain polystyrene products would be exempt, such as the trays used to package raw meat, reusable foam ice chests and pre-packaged food items. There would also be a process for vendors to request a one-year hardship exemption from the public works department.

Acting on a suggestion received during a public outreach effort conducted by the county, staff looked into the possibility of encouraging the use of compostable food and beverage containers, but recommended against doing so because solid waste services throughout much of the county do not have separate collection options for food waste and food-contaminated compostables.

Moreover, compostable food containers that end up in a landfill would generate more greenhouse gases than polystyrene, according to county staff. More information can be found by consulting their report online.

Enforcing the prohibition is expected to cost the county about $25,000 per year, and that money will come from stormwater utility assessment funds.

Tuesday's meeting of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in the board chambers at 651 Pine St. in Martinez.

The meeting agenda is available online

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