A bill passed Feb. 17 by the Washington Senate is designed to reduce pollution by prohibiting the sale and distribution of most expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) products. The bill passed on a vote of 29-19 and now heads to the House for consideration, according to the Auburn Reporter newspaper.
“Styrofoam is a toxic material that we simply cannot reuse or recycle,” says Sen. Mona Das, who sponsored Senate Bill 6213, in a Washington State Senate Democrats news release. “…I was proud to sponsor legislation to ban single-use plastics for the same reason I am proud to sponsor this ban of Styrofoam. It’s a step toward environmental stewardship, it’s good for local economies and it’s an important part of giving our kids and grandkids a healthy, clean earth.”
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is not known to be toxic and generally is not recyclable through curbside programs, but can be recycled through drop-off and mail-in programs.
Effective June 1, 2022, this legislation prohibits the sale, manufacture and distribution of EPS food service products, coolers and packaging materials in or into the state of Washington. Food service products include food containers, plates, clam shells and hot and cold beverage cups.
It exempts packaging for raw, uncooked or butchered meat, fish and poultry, as well as packaging for seafood, vegetables, fruit and egg cartons. It also exempts EPS products used to transport or store biological materials such as medical items. Wholesale or retail establishments who use EPS coolers to transport perishable items are also exempted from this prohibition.