New proposal introduced to ban styrofoam containers

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The proposed bill would ban restaurants from using polystyrene foam or styrofoam containers. These are often used to “take out” food.

 “A lot of these styrofoam containers wind up in the way stream as litter and as debris in the ocean which harms marine life and degrades the quality of our oceans,” said city council member Ron Menor. 

Council member Ron Menor introduced the bill. He says he thinks it’s the right time.

“I think that public opinion’s changing,” said Menor. “I think more people are starting to see that the enactment of legislation to ban stryofoam containers could produce significant benefits for our community in terms of environmental protection and satisfying the preferences of the consumers.”

But some businesses say that this would make it harder to do business. 

L & L Hawaiian Barbecue said it’s using biodegradable containers at some locations, but said the shift has been difficult.

“It’s almost a disadvantage for us serving the type of cuisine or type of food that we serve, you know local foods, that has disproportionately hot liquids and sauces,” said Bryan Andaya, L & L Hawaiian Barbecue president. 

“We do get complaints like hey you know this container is not good. It’s falling apart. It feels like it’s melting,” said Andaya. 

He says the cost difference is huge. For one styrofoam container, it costs 8 cents, while a biodegradable container, costs 30 cents.

“They should take a common sense, realistic approach and basically think about our customers, and businesses like ours,” said Andaya. “And we’re definitely not the only ones. There’s a lot of local plate lunch places out there, especially the mom and pop ones that have to deal with it.”

Menor says the proposal will be introduced at a city council meeting on Wednesday. People will be able to give public testimony on the proposal at that meeting.

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