City of Concord, California

Polystyrene (Styrofoam) Food & Beverage Containers Ban

Overview

Effective January 1, 2019, food and beverage providers are prohibited from selling, vending, or serving food or beverages on/in disposable foam polystyrene (Styrofoam) food and beverage containers.

Banned and allowed Styrofoam containers include:

Food & Beverage Containers Banned Allowed
Cups X  
Bowls X  
Plates X  
Clamshells X  
Serving trays X  
Straws   X
Splash sticks   X
Stir sticks   X
Drink lids   X
Soup lids   X
Utensils   X
Egg cartons   X
Liquid cartons   X
Raw meat trays   X

Benefits of the ban to our community include:

  • Reducing waste by requiring food or beverage service ware that is readily reusable, recyclable, or compostable;
  • Retaining local control, rather than relying on potential State-wide regulations;
  • Obtaining "Trash Reduction - Source Control" credits on Annual Stormwater Report;
  • Further implementing the objectives of our Citywide Climate Action Plan;
  • Reducing human health risks associated with styrene, a chemical known to cause cancer;
  • Improving water quality in the Concord waterways and beyond; and
  • Reducing the risk of harm to wildlife as polystyrene breaks apart into small pieces and is mistaken as food by birds, fish, and wildlife and does not biodegrade.

Resources

FAQs

What is polystyrene?
Polystyrene, commonly referred to by its trade name as "Styrofoam," is a petroleum based plastic derived from a styrene monomer. Because polystyrene is a lightweight material with insulation properties, it is commonly used to manufacture a variety of single-use disposable products, such as cups, takeout containers, and other food and beverage service ware.

What businesses are included in the ban?
"Food and beverage providers" means any vendor, business, store, organization, or group, including any full service restaurant, limited service restaurant, supermarket, cafeteria, catering truck or vehicle, sidewalk or other outdoor vendor, caterer, or other retail food establishments, located or operating within Concord that sells, vends, or serves non-prepackaged food or beverages regardless of whether there is a charge for the food or beverage. Applicable food and beverage providers include but are not limited to: childcare facilities, hospitals, after-school programs, catering companies, City facilities, private schools, charter schools, and retail food businesses.

Are there any exemptions from the ban?
Prepackaged foods in foam cups or trays like ramen noodles, raw eggs, or raw meat trays are exempt from the ban. Also, service ware exempt from the ban includes straws, splash sticks, stir sticks, soup lids, drink lids, utensils, tablecloth, and raw meat trays. Additionally, retail items containing polystyrene foam that are sold in bulk or individually to customers and are not used to sell, vend, or serve food or beverages at the time of sale are not included in the ban.

 
City of Concord CA