Polystyrene Foam

Polystyrene Foam Prohibition on City Property

Polystyrene foam, commonly known as "Styrofoam", is not easily recyclable and is a common source of plastic pollution on the City's parks and beaches. Polystyrene foam easily breaks down into smaller pieces, creating micro-plastic pollution which impacts wildlife and human health.

What is prohibited?

Polystyrene foam food ware items including but not limited to plates, cups, bowls, take-out containers, and coolers. 

To whom does the prohibition apply?

  • All individuals on City property are DISCOURAGED from using polystyrene foam.
  • Temporary vendors selling or distributing food on City property are PROHIBITED from selling or distributing food in polystyrene foam.
  • Special event permits and facility rental agreements PROHIBIT the use and distribution of polystyrene foam.

Alternatives to Polystyrene Foam

Biodegradable materials

  • Bagasse 
    • Bagasse is a dry fibrous plant material usually left over from the processing of a commercial crop such as sugarcane. Bagasse products sometimes appear brown in color though are sometimes bleached white. Products made of this material tend to be thinner than polystyrene foam products.
  • Wheatstraw
    • Like bagasse, wheatstraw products are made from the byproduct of a commercial crop, in this case the stalks of wheat after grain has been extracted. Wheatstraw products are similar in appearance to bagasse products. 
  • Fiber
    • Fiber products are made from paper derived from trees. Unlike bagasse and wheatstraw these products do not appear similar to foam, but are usually smooth.

Disposal: Biodegradable food ware can be composted unless it is coated in plastic. When coated in plastic these items should be discarded in the trash.

Miscellaneous plastics

  • Compostable plastics including Polylactic acid (PLA) typicaly show the #7 in the chasing arrow recycling symbol.  
  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are typically labelled as #1 in the chasing arrow recycling symbol.
  • Polypropylene #5 are typically labelled as #5 in the chasing arrow recycling symbol.

Disposal: Plastics can be recycled in the blue recycling bins. Containers should be empty but they do not need to be washed or have labels removed. Compostable plastics are typically only compostable in industrial systems and not in backyard bins and thus should be recycled or thrown away.

Where can I buy alternative products?

As a result of changing consumer demand, alternatives to polystyrene foam are now readily available in most places where disposable food ware can be purchased, including grocery and party stores.

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Polystyrene foam products are prohibited for temporary vendors on City property by Ordinance No. 5580. Polystyrene foam products are prohibited for special events, facility rentals, and other users of City facilities by regulations in permits and agreements with the City.