If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



San Jose Bans Foam Food Containers

by Cheryl Hogue
September 2, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 35

Credit: Shutterstock
San Jose is banning polystyrene foam food-service containers.
Polystyrene containers with food in a trash can.
Credit: Shutterstock
San Jose is banning polystyrene foam food-service containers.

In a move expected to inspire other California municipalities to follow suit, the city of San Jose last week adopted a phaseout of expanded polystyrene containers for food service starting in 2014. The city council of San Jose agreed to ban polystyrene containers for food service to reduce the amount of trash washed into storm drains. Proponents of the ban point out that these lightweight containers, which are not biodegradable, are often blown by wind out of trash cans and can easily break into small bits because they are brittle. The American Chemistry Council, an association of companies that manufacture chemicals, including polystyrene, opposes the ban, saying the move will kill efforts to recycle this material. San Jose’s ban runs counter to a trend in California to recycle polystyrene foam food-service packaging, ACC says. Two other cities in Silicon Valley, Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills, have already banned polystyrene containers for food service. Several other municipalities in the region are expected to adopt similar prohibitions in the wake of San Jose’s action.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.