New York City has banned throwaway polystyrene coffee cups, soup bowls, trays, and plates. The City of Norwalk is imposing a ban in April. Other cities from Portland, Maine to San Francisco are doing the same and the push is on to ban the stuff in Connecticut, statewide over the next two years.
Environment Committee Co-Chair Sen. Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) saying, “This year what the environment committee is setting out to do is ban polystyrene across the board, both containers used in restaurants, as well as school trays.”
Schools in Connecticut serve over 50 million meals in the average year. The School Nutrition Association says 75% of schools currently use styrofoam trays and alternatives are much more expensive and would result in higher priced lunches, increased local taxes or both.
The Connecticut Restaurant Association says they are phasing styrofoam out on their own.
“I don’t think we feel that we need a legislative piece to this right now to help us fix that issue. As you can see in our restaurants, we already have significantly taken away a lot of styrofoam,” said Association Executive Director Scott Dolch.
Environment Committee ranking member Sen. Craig Miner (R-Litchfield) saying, “There’s no doubt that the time frame in this bill may be problematic.”
As currently written, schools would have to eliminate the stuff by July 1st of next year (2021). Restaurants by July 1 the year after (2022), in other words, a total ban in just over two years. After that, restaurants would face fines of up to $1,000 per violation.
Some styrofoam not only ends up on the side of the road, but it is estimated that it makes up about 30% of the trash in local landfills.