WASHINGTON (April 21, 2021) – The WashingtonState legislature passed Senate Bill 5022 which, among other provisions, bansexpanded polystyrene (EPS) foodservice packaging. America’s plastic makers urge Governor Inslee toreject this provision and issued the following statement, which may beattributed to Joshua Baca, ACC’s vice president of plastics:
We urge Governor Inslee to reject the misguided restrictions on EPS foodservice packaging by removing this provision from the legislation through line-item veto. If enacted, the ban would force the replacement of EPS with alternatives that are often more costly and have greater environmental impacts.
Banning EPS foodservice packaging would be a step backward for the environment. EPS foodservice packaging typically is made with less material than alternatives (EPS is more than 90% air) and uses less energy and water to produce.[i] Legislators instead should focus on creating the infrastructure to recycle EPS and help create a more circular economy.
As Washington State recovers from the economic fallout of a debilitating pandemic, the legislature should not be passing legislation that would reduce consumer options and increase financial challenges for consumers, businesses, schools and restaurants.
EPS is used throughout our nation’s economy to insulate our homes, package our meat and fish, protect us when riding our bikes, and even make our surfboards. EPS packaging is playing a key role during the pandemic by helping protect much of our nation’s vaccine supply and keep it cool during transport. EPS foodservice packaging helps keep our food fresh, hot or cold, and ready to eat, which helps prevent food waste, the number one material entering our landfills and a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. In a nation that wastes nearly 40% of its food, we should be using packaging that best prevents food waste.
Companies that make EPS and foodservice products offered multiple alternatives to the ban in SB 5022, such as requirements to include recycled content in EPS, which would further improve its environmental profile. This legislation is primarily focused on creating recycled content requirements for other packaging but inexplicably bans the sale of EPS.