Styrofoam Ban Proposed in City Food Products

By Ted Cox on December 11, 2013 2:41pm 

 The city would ban the use of Styrofoam in food-service products under a new ordinance proposed at Wednesday's City Council meeting.
The city would ban the use of Styrofoam in food-service products under a new ordinance proposed at Wednesday's City Council meeting.
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CITY HALL — The city would ban the use of Styrofoam in food-service products under a new ordinance proposed at Wednesday's City Council meeting.

The proposal, sponsored by Aldermen Edward Burke (14th) and George Cardenas (12th), would ban polystyrene in food packaging.

The ordinance charges that "toxic chemicals leach out of such products into the food that they contain and threaten human health."

According to Burke's office, 250,000 Chicago Public Schools students use Styrofoam lunch trays on a daily basis, with 35 million a year being trashed.

"Adoption of this proposal would help protect public health while greatly reducing the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills," Burke said in a statement.

"Not only would we reduce the burden on our landfills, but it is our goal to promote the use of biodegradable products," Cardenas added.

They say Chicago would join more than 100 cities nationwide in banning the products if the ordinance is enacted. It would set fines of $100 to $300 on first offense, $300 to $500 on additional offenses, enforced by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave tentative support to the idea after the City Council meeting, saying it's consistent with his administration's emphasis on "sustainability."

"I'm gonna study that proposal specifically," Emanuel said, but quickly added that his short-term public-health emphasis over the next month will be on passing tighter restrictions on e-cigarettes.

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