EPS Bans: Why and Where

Cities, Counties, some States and Countries have all dramatically limited the use of expanded polystyrene foam or EPS, also commonly known as Styrofoam. An excerpt directly from the San Francisco Ordinance 140-16, amended July 12, 2016 highlights the reasons behind these far reaching actions.

San Francisco Passes Most Expansive Styrofoam Ban in U.S.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to outlaw all forms of Styrofoam as of Jan. 1, 2017

Section 2. Findings. (a) The City and County of San Francisco has a duty to protect the natural environment, the economy, and the health of its citizens. (b) Polystyrene foam, commonly but often incorrectly referred to as "styrofoam" aka "Styrofoam", is an environmental pollutant that is commonly used for packaging and as food service ware in the City and County of San Francisco. (c) Due to the physical properties of polystyrene foam, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states "that such materials can have serious impacts upon human health, wildlife, and aquatic environment, and the economy." (d) Polystyrene foam packaging and food service ware cannot be recycled through San Francisco's recycling (blue bin) collection program and is otherwise difficult or impossible to recycle, and is not compostable. Compostable or recyclable disposable packaging and food service ware are an affordable, safe, more ecologically sound alternative

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors clearly call out two of the big concerns; impact on health and impact on the environment, and the simple fact that EPS is not easily recycled.

In addition to San Francisco, bans have been enacted in the following locations. This is a listing from the Surfrider foundation, www.surfrider.org.

CALIFORNIA - 65 ordinances that cover restaurants:

  • Alameda (2008) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be compostable or recyclable.
  • Albany (2008) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be compostable or recyclable.
  • Belmont (2012) Expanded polysytrene ban that is essentially an extension of the San Mateo County ordinance, adopted by reference and effective October 2012.
  • Berkeley (1988) One of the first EPS foam foodware ordinances passed in 1988 and effective January 1990.
  • Burlingame (2011) Expanded polystyrene ban referencing San Mateo County's ordinance on May 16, 2011 and effective January 2012.
  • Calabasas (2008) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be returnable, recyclable, biodegradable or degradable. Click here for details.
  • Capitola (2012) Prohibits the sale of expanded polystyrene products as part of the 2009 Plastics Ordinance that was expanded in 2012.
  • Carmel (1989) Expanded polystyrene ban for restaurants passed in 1989.
  • Carpenteria (effective September 1, 2009) Ban on non-recyclable plastic food takeout containers, including expanded polystyrene. Chapter 8.5 of Municipal Code.
  • Dana Point (adopted February 21, 2012) Ban on expanded polystyrene food containers. Effective six months after adoption date.
  • Del Ray Oaks (effective July 1, 2010) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • El Cerrito - On September 17th, the El Cerrito City Council finalized a polystyrene foam foodware ordinance for restaurants. Effective January 1st, 2014.
  • Emeryville (2008) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • Fairfax (1993) Expanded polystyrene ban for all restaurants and food retail vendors. Title 8.16 of Municipal Code.
  • Foster City (effective April 1, 2012) Polystyrene ban for restaurants and food vendors, adopted October 17, 2011.
  • Fremont (effective January 1, 2011) Expanded polystyrene ban for food vendors, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • Half Moon Bay (effective August 1, 2011) Half Moon Bay passed an ordinance, referencing San Mateo County's polystyrene food container ban, on May 17, 2011.
  • Hayward (effective July 2011) Expanded polystyrene ban for restaurant vendors, requirement that takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • Hercules (2008) Expanded polystyrene ban. Sec.5-3109, Title 5, Chapter 3 of Municipal Code.
  • Hermosa Beach (2012) Polystyrene container ban. Effective March 2013.
  • Laguna Beach (2008) Polystyrene ban, requirement that all plastic takeout food packaging be recyclable. Title 7.05 of Municipal Code.
  • Livermore (2010) Food vendors are required to use recyclable or compostable takeout food packaging.
  • Los Altos Hills (February 1, 2012) Ban on eps and non-recyclable plastic food containers.
  • Malibu (2005) Expanded polystyrene ban. Title 9.24 of Municipal Code.
  • Manhattan Beach (2013) In September 2013 the Manhattan beach updated their CFC processed polystyrene food packaging ban from 1988. The new ordinance bans foam and clear polystyrene containers at restaurants.
  • Marin County (effective January 1, 2010) Expanded polystyrene ban.
  • Marina (2011) Expanded polystyrene food container ban. Requires the use of recyclable or compostable takeout food packaging unless alternatives are unavailable.
  • Menlo Park (2012) Adopted San Mateo County ordinance by reference in August of 2012. Effective 11/1/12.
  • Millbrae (2008) Polystyrene ban, requirement that all plastic takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • Mill Valley (2009) Food vendors and city facilities are prohibited from using expanded polystyrene foam food containers.
  • Monterey City (2009) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • Monterey County (effective November 2010) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable. Title 10, Chapter 10.42 of Municipal Code.
  • Morgan Hill (2014) In October 2013, Morgan Hill City Council approved an expanded polystyrene foodware ban similar to other ordinances in Santa Clara County. Effective April 22, 2014.
  • Newport Beach (2008) Expanded polystyrene ban. Title 6, Section 5 of Municipal Code.
  • Novato (2013) City Council approved a polystyrene foodware ban for restaurants in May 2013 that is effective January 1, 2014.
  • Oakland (2007) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be compostable. Businesses that generate a large portion of litter must pay a litter fee. Title 8.07 of Municipal Code.
  • Pacific Grove (2008) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable. Title 11, Chapter 11.99 of Municipal Code.
  • Pacifica (effective January 1, 2010) Expanded polystyrene ban.
  • Palo Alto (effective April 22, 2010) Expanded polystyrene ban.
  • Pittsburg (1993) CFC processed polystyrene ban. Title 8.06.210 of Municipal Code.
  • Portola Valley (effective October 25, 2012) Polystyrene ban (San Mateo County ordinance).
  • Pleasenton - In April 2013 Pleasenton City Council passed an expanded polystyrene foam ban for food vendors effective July 2013.
  • Redwood City (effective January 1, 2013) Polysytrene ban (San Mateo County ordinance).
  • Richmond (effective August 5, 2010) Polystyrene ban, requirement that all plastic takeout food packaging be compostable.
  • Salinas (passed August 16, 2011) Expanded polystyrene ban on takeout containers.
  • San Bruno (effective April 1, 2010) Polystyrene ban, requirement that all plastic takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • San Carlos (effective July 1, 2012) Adopted the San Mateo County ordinance by reference. Chapter 8.27 of Municipal Code.
  • San Clemente (effective July 1, 2011) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban in 2004. City Council passed a citywide ban for food vendors in 2011.
  • San Francisco (2007) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • San Jose (2010/2013) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban for special events established in 2010. Citywide EPS foam ban for restaurants/food vendors passed in 2013.
  • San Leandro (effective November 1, 2012) Expanded polystyrene food container ban, adopted October 2011.
  • San Mateo City (2013) Ordinance includes a ban on all polystyrene foodware at food vendors with limited exceptions passed by City Council in May 2013.
  • San Mateo County (2008 and 2011) Government facility polystyrene ban passed in 2008. An expanded ban for the rest of unincorporated San Mateo County was passed in 2011, effective July 1, 2011.
  • San Rafael (2013) City Council passed a polystyrene foam ordinance in September 2012 that is effective September 2013.
  • Santa Clara County (Effective February 1, 2013) The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors adopted an eps takeout container ban for unincorporated parts of Santa Cleara County on June 5, 2012.
  • Santa Cruz City (2012) Ban on sale of all foam polystyrene products. Prior to 2012, the City banned the distribution of expanded polystyrene food containers, with a requirement that the food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • Santa Cruz County (2008 and 2012) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable. Title 5, Section 46 of Municipal Code. The ban was expanded to prohibit the sale of all expanded polystyrene products in stores on April 17, 2012.
  • Santa Monica (2007) Polystyrene ban with requirement that all plastic takeout food packaging be recyclable. Visit their website for more information.
  • Sausalito (effective September 1, 2008) Food vendors and city facilities and events are prohibited from using expanded polystyrene foam food containers.
  • Scotts Valley (2009) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • Seaside (effective August 4, 2010) Polystyrene ban with requirement that all plastic takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • South San Francisco (2008) Polystyrene ban, requirement that all plastic takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable.
  • Watsonville (2009) Expanded polystyrene ban, requirement that all takeout food packaging be recyclable or compostable. Title 6, Chapter 6 of Municipal Code.
  • West Hollywood (adopted 1990) Polystyrene ban for restaurants and food vendors.
  • Yountville (1989) Expanded polystyrene food container ban.

OTHER CA Ordinances and Mandates covering Government facilities or specific venues (10):

  • Aliso Viejo (2005) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban. Ordinance #2004- 060
  • Huntington Beach (2005) Government facility and city-sponsored event expanded polystyrene ban.
  • Laguna Hills (2008) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban.
  • Laguna Woods (2004) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban.
  • Los Angeles City (2008) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban. Chapter IV, Article 13 of Municipal Code.
  • Los Angeles County (2008) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban.
  • Orange County (2005/6) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban.
  • San Juan Capistrano (2004) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban.
  • Sonoma County (adopted 1989) Government facility expanded polystyrene ban. Title 19, Section 19.6-1 of Municipal Code.
  • Ventura County (2004) Government facility and county-sponsored event expanded polystyrene ban established by County Board of Supervisors 2004 resolution.

Florida EPS Bans:

  • Bal Harbour (2014) Ordinance prohibiting polystrene at all stores, restaurants and beaches.
  • Bay Harbor Islands (2015) Ordinance prohibiting polystrene in restaurants.
  • Coral Gables (2016) Ordinance prohibiting use of polystyrene by chain stores, chain food stores, city vendors and at special events.
  • Hollywood (1996) Ordinance prohibiting the use of all plastic single-use foodware at restaurants east of the Intercoastal Waterway
  • Key Biscayne (2014) Ordinance prohibiting polystrene on beaches and in local parks. Also prohibits city contractors and city facilities from utilizing polystrene.
  • Miami Beach (2014) Ordinance prohibiting the sale/use of polystyerene food service articles at all city parks, buildings, events and sidewalk cafes.
  • North Bay Village (2015)
  • Surfside (2015)