Eugene City Council To Vote On Polystyrene Ban

Nov 21, 2019

Eugene City Council will vote Monday to decide whether to ban polystyrene containers used for prepared food by restaurants and retailers.

Eugene City Council is considering a ban on single-use polystyrene food containers. Retailers and restaurants would have to find alternatives, such as the paper container pictured.

Polystyrene, commonly called Styrofoam, is hard to clean up and made from non-renewable fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals.

Waste Prevention Analyst Anna Reid says it’s different from other single-use materials.

“Polystyrene specifically can break down into very, very small pieces which creates litter issues and then also environmental issues,” said Reid. “It just makes it a lot harder to find and clean up whether it’s in our storm drains and then in the waterways or just, you know, in the environment in general.”

Reid says the financial impact of the change to retailers is negligible.

The city council will also vote Monday on additional language to the single-use plastic bag ban. This will bring the ordinance into compliance with state-wide changes under House Bill 2509 which will go into effect on January 1st.

The new language would end the exemption for restaurants to use single-use plastic bags for prepared food. It also specifies single-use checkout bags are now banned for retailers and restaurants state-wide. This means any bag that is not a recycled paper, reusable plastic or fabric check out bag.

The new restrictions do not include garment or prescription medication bags nor the plastic bags used in the produce or bulk sections.