Expanded polystyrene may soon join smoking and plastic bags on the growing list of things banned in the city of Arcata.


Polystyrene is the styrofoamlike material popularly used in take-out containers, and an ordinance up for discussion at the next City Council meeting would ban city restaurants and food establishments from using it. The council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. in City Hall to discuss the ordinance, among other things, at a special meeting taking the place of the usual Wednesday meeting.

The polystyrene ban is an ongoing topic of discussion for council, who last reviewed the ordinance draft March 19, 2014, according to a staff report.


According to the report, the purpose of the ordinance is, “to protect the natural environment from non-biodegradable litter, reduce solid waste and promote public health.”


A survey was conducted in 2008 asking food establishments for feedback on the ban. Results of the survey stated that 84 percent of takeout food vendors in Arcata would support the ban, and 68 percent already did not use the material for their takeout containers, according to the report.


In March of this year the survey was updated. Businesses were contacted by phone and of the 71 who were contacted only one said it would not support the ban, and it was a business that currently uses polystyrene take-out containers, according to the report.


The staff report also states that the city invited all Arcata food businesses, and businesses who sell polystyrene products, to informational meetings to discuss the proposed ban.


“No one attended the two evening meetings,” according to the staff report.


Discussion of the ban is part of the initiative to move Arcata toward its “zero waste” goal and, if adopted Tuesday, will go into effect Oct. 1.


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To submit an eComment, go to http://www.cityofarcata.org/government/city-council-meetings-agendas-archives, click on eComment for the May 5 meeting, and scroll down to Item IX.B. Ordinance 1440.