Supervisor Breed introduces potential ban on styrofoam

Styrofoam could soon become prohibited in San Francisco, according to legislation introduced Tuesday by President of the Board of Supervisors, London Breed.

If passed, Breed’s ordinance could become the most expansive Styrofoam prohibition in the country, banning the sale of numerous items made from the material, according to her office.

The ban would prohibit the sale of Styrofoam plates, clamshells, meat trays, egg cartons, ice coolers and other food ware, as well as packing materials such as packing peanuts. Additionally, Styrofoam pool, beach and marine products such as toys, dock floats and buoys would also be banned, Breed’s office said.

Breed said in a statement:

“We are a city prized for our natural beauty, surrounded by water on three sides. We have a moral, a public health, and frankly a financial responsibility to protect ourselves from pollutants like polystyrene foam.”

Styrofoam, also known as polystyrene foam, cannot be recycled through the city’s blue bin recycling program and is hard to decompose. It breaks down into smaller, non-biodegradable pieces that end up polluting the bay and the ocean.

Additionally, seabirds often consume the pieces, mistaking them for fish eggs, according to Breed’s office.

In 2007, San Francisco prohibited serving food in Styrofoam.

The material can potentially leach into food and drinks served in polystyrene foam food ware, causing harm to consumers. Styrofoam has been linked to cancer and developmental disorders, Breed’s office said.

To create the legislation, Breed worked closely with the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Sustainable San Francisco, the California Grocers Association, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, as well as other local and international businesses.

Breed said:

“We will replace hazardous products with compostable, recyclable ones. We will continue our work toward Zero Waste. And we will protect the public health and the natural beauty of our waterways and wildlife,”

If passed, the ban would go into effect as early as Jan. 1, 2017.