Join discussion about polystyrene ban tonight

August 18, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Aug. 18, 2009

Issaquah officials will hear from Seattle Public Utilities staffers tonight about Seattle’s ban on polystyrene food containers. Issaquah City Council members are considering a similar measure.

Join officials and business leaders tonight as they discuss the proposal at a Council Sustainability Committee meeting. The panel meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Pickering Room of City Hall Northwest, 1775 12th Ave. N.W.

Ban proponent Councilman Joshua Schaer will update attendees about the status of the polystyrene legislation. A discussion about the proposal with meeting attendees is also part of the meeting. Seattle Public Utilities will outline the Seattle ban.

Seattle officials outlawed polystyrene food containers last year. The ban took effect in January. In 2010, it will expand to include plastic containers and utensils.

A proposed ban would outlaw polystyrene food packaging in local restaurants, grocers and other food sellers. Critics said the material lingers in landfills long after Styrofoam trays and cups are tossed into the trash. Polystyrene is expensive to recycle as well.

Restaurateurs have expressed concerns about compostable and recyclable alternatives, because polystyrene is cheaper to use. In turn, restaurateurs would pass the cost along to diners. Business owners also worry that eco-friendly options would not hold up as well against heat and moisture.

Tonight’s discussion is the latest outreach effort by city officials since the ban was proposed in June.

City and Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce leaders brought together business owners and city staffers July 28 to discuss compostable and recyclable alternatives to polystyrene food containers.

The full City Council could consider the ban as early as this fall.

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