The negative environmental impact of polystyrene, more commonly referred to as “Styrofoam,” is well documented. Styrene is listed as a hazardous air pollutant in an amendment of the Clean Air Act of 1990. Save the Bay reports that “polystyrene foam is the second most abundant form of beach debris in California and poses a risk to human health, bay wildlife, and wetland habitat.”
Because of these harmful effects, the City of San Mateo will join the County, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, and Woodside in implementing a regional polystyrene ban.
City Council Meeting
City Council unanimously voted to adopt the polystyrene ban ordinance on May 6, 2013.
Restaurants and groceries with delis that have not already elected to use less harmful packaging for the safety of their customers, will be required to use more environmentally-friendly packaging. Please read San Mateo County’s ordinance for full details. Restaurants are exempt from the reusable bag ordinance.
Implementation began June 6, 2013.
Working with our Business Community
Our team is reaching out to our business community to explain the purpose of both the polystyrene ban and the reusable bag ordinance. We have found that many of our businesses are already in the practice of using more environmentally friendly packaging. If you have questions, please call us at (650) 522-7300.
City of San Mateo's Polystyrene Ban Ordinance (references County ordinance)
County of San Mateo’s Polystyrene Ban Ordinance
City of San Mateo's Polystyrene Notice of Intent (NOI)
City of San Mateo's Polystyrene Negative Declaration
Polystyrene Ban: Environmental-Friendly Vendor Listing, and Multi Lingual Handout
County of San Mateo’s Reusable Bag Ordinance
Reusable Bag Ordinance: Fact Sheet