Styrofoam ban is overdue — let’s get it in place!

Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:34 am by

For the last twen­ty years it’s been a side inter­est of mine to see what a trashy species (that would be us) can do to clean up its act. 

After hear­ing Charles Moore last year (Doris Estabrooks arranged for him to come explain how trash & sty­ro­foam are chok­ing the oceans), I was glad to hear that the Town Coun­cil & Coun­ty Coun­cil are con­sid­er­ing a sty­ro­foam ban…it’s time to fin­ish the “con­sid­er­ing stage” and do it!

Here’s more from the anti-lit­ter committee:

Gotta go....

Gotta go....


It’s been 13 years since the 1996 Sol­id Waste Man­age­ment Plan was adopt­ed by the Coun­ty and Town. The Plan states that “Sol­id Waste staff will explore the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a ban on poly­styrene food pack­ag­ing (Sty­ro­foam) in the Town and Coun­ty as allowed under RCW70.95C.100 and will pre­pare a rec­om­men­da­tion for the Board of Coun­ty Com­mis­sion­ers in 1997.”

This ban has been 13 years in the making.

Busi­ness, ser­vice group and indi­vid­ual mem­bers of the all vol­un­teer “San Juan Island Anti-Lit­ter Ini­tia­tive” have draft­ed an ordi­nance to ban Sty­ro­foam “take out” food con­tain­ers from San Juan Coun­ty.  The Town of Fri­day Har­bor will hold a hear­ing on this ordi­nance on July 16 at 5:30 in the Town Coun­cil Cham­bers. San Juan Coun­ty Coun­cil will dis­cuss this issue on July 28 at 3:30 in the Coun­cil Leg­isla­tive Building.

This Ordi­nance is the brain-child of Doris Estabrooks, 87, who has gath­ered over 1600 sig­na­tures for a ban since 2006. Estabrooks became con­cerned with impacts of Sty­ro­foam on our health and the impacts to wildlife. Estabrooks appeared before the Town Coun­cil in 2007 request­ing a ban on Sty­ro­foam and the Coun­cil respond­ed through the adop­tion of a Town of Fri­day Har­bor Res­o­lu­tion ban­ning Sty­ro­foam from Town Hall and encour­ag­ing local busi­ness­es to vol­un­tar­i­ly ban Sty­ro­foam food con­tain­ers, which was adopt­ed in 2007. After a strong grass roots effort since then, many busi­ness­es still use Sty­ro­foam as take-out containers.

A sim­i­lar ban on Sty­ro­foam has been real­ized in Port­land, Ore­gon near­ly 20 years ago. Since then, oth­er cities such as Seat­tle and Berke­ley have adopt­ed sim­i­lar bans.

The ordi­nance phas­es out all Sty­ro­foam take out con­tain­ers by April 22, 2010, giv­ing busi­ness­es with foam inven­to­ry time to con­vert to alternatives.

Enforce­ment is just anoth­er line item on the reg­u­lar restau­rant inspec­tions and would be done in part­ner­ship with the local Health Offi­cer and Enforce­ment offi­cer.  The incre­men­tal bur­den is small and costs near­ly nothing.

Our state leg­is­la­ture estab­lished waste reduc­tion as the first pri­or­i­ty for the col­lec­tion, han­dling, and man­age­ment of sol­id waste; and found that it is “nec­es­sary to change man­u­fac­tur­ing and pur­chas­ing prac­tices and waste gen­er­a­tion behav­iors to reduce the amount of waste that becomes a gov­ern­men­tal respon­si­bil­i­ty.” Our com­mu­ni­ty has been wait­ing 13 years to clean up our waste stream.

Shouldn’t we com­ply with the exist­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from the Town of Fri­day Har­bor and the San Juan Coun­ty Council?

It’s time to pass an ordi­nance to ban Sty­ro­foam take-out food containers!

–San Juan Island Anti-Lit­ter Coali­tion Steer­ing Committee:
Doris Estabrooks, David Dehlen­dorf, Lori Stokes, Deb­bie Pig­man, San Juan Island Cham­ber of Com­merce; Sam Jacob­son, Roche Har­bor Resort; Jack Cory, Island Guardian; Stephanie Buf­fum-Field, Friends of the San Juans; Richard Walk­er, Jour­nal of the San Juans, Beth Hel­stien, and John McBride, Uni­fied Retailer.

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Categories: Enviro Corner

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  1. Styrofoam ban passes for Town… | San Juan Update

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