Press Editorial

September 8, 2009

By Staff

Baby steps called for in Styrofoam ban

By now you’ve probably read about the city’s initial proposal to ban the use of polystyrene — better known as Styrofoam — food containers in Issaquah. This could include everything from takeout food containers to the little tray that holds tonight’s steak.The idea was first proposed by the City Council’s Sustainability Committee. The city of Issaquah has long been regarded as being a leader in resource conservation and recycling, and we’re ready to see more.

If the proposed ban is implemented Jan. 1, businesses would be required to use recyclable or compostable food containers. While some business owners are concerned about being forced to change to a more expensive container, they are not all opposed. Matt Bott, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, has surveyed businesses and heard back from about 20 so far.

While we like the idea of reducing plastic trash, we caution the city to take it slow. The economy is tough enough on businesses that are operating on reduced sales and reduced staff — all while worrying about a possible flu epidemic. We hope the city will create baby steps that get us to the polystyrene ban, but maybe not until Jan. 1, 2011.

Meanwhile, the Sustainability Committee should also be looking at those darn plastic bags and what can be done about them — without getting into a bag tax! For a step in the right direction, they should mandate attendance of business owners and staff at a workshop that discusses ways to cut down on the use of the bags. Is there some reason soda pop in a 2-liter plastic bottle needs to be wrapped in plastic a second time?

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