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Ban proposed for polystyrene foam products


Last updated 2/12/2020 at 8:54pm

Products made of polystyrene foam will be on the way out if some members of the Washington State Legislature get their way and stop their sale and distribution.

Senate bill 6213, sponsored by Senator Mona Das, D- Kent, and its companion House Bill 2429 propose banning the sale and distribution of polystyrene products, such as Styrofoam.

This bill would apply to food containers, plates, cups, packing peanuts, ice coolers and food-service products. Containers for raw foods, such as eggs and meat, would be exempt.

“Our widespread use of single-use plastics and Styrofoam … is unsustainable,” Das said at an earlier Senate Environment, Energy, and Technology Committee hearing. “It is time for Washington to take action.”

Polystyrene foam takes several years to decompose and can be harmful to the environment, particularly to any wildlife that comes in contact with it.

“Birds, turtles, and other marine mammals ingest Styrofoam, mistaking it as food,” said Kylee Reynolds, a student at Glenwood Elementary School. “This adds poison into the animals’ blood.”

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences cites a National Toxicology Program report that lists styrene as a likely carcinogen.

Concerns were expressed over the ban by individuals who feared jobs would be lost with passage of the bill.

“SB 6213 would effectively eliminate the 28 full-time, skilled workers we have employed in Tumwater and some of the employees at our Lacey distribution center,” said Kathy Warren, human resources manager at Dart Container.

The legislation continues to move forward within the Senate and will be put into effect later this year if it’s passed.

“My generation has the right to grow up on a planet that is not being poisoned,” said Madison Decrescenzo, a student from Glenwood Elementary.


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