Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray has signed a law that will ban food and drink containers made of plastic foam for carryout use in the District of Columbia.
The ban will take effect on January 1, 2016, and puts Washington in the company of San Francisco, Seattle and Portland among other U.S. cities that have banned foam containers.
Under the new law, food and beverage outlets including restaurants, carry-outs and food trucks will be required to offer only compostable or other recyclable containers or face a fine. Foam meat trays used by butchers and grocery stores are exempt from the ban.
The foam ban comes four years after the city imposed a five-cent fee on plastic bags.
The American Chemistry Council responded to the law in a July 29 statement The ACC said it supports making the District “a more sustainable city, including efforts to reduce waste and improve recycling.” But they argued that the ban would not achieve that. Opportunities to compost these products don’t currently exist in the city, the chemistry council noted.
“By failing to examine recycling opportunities for polystyrene foam as many communities have” the District “is requiring the use of food service ware that may actually be worse for the environment,” because of the extra energy needed to produce alternatives, the ACC said.