Berkeley, CA Polystyrene Foam, Degradable and Recyclable Food Packaging

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Berkeley, CA, US

Type: Code

Status: Adopted in 1989

Source File:


(Note: This is a very long section of the Berkeley Municipal Code. We are only including the introduction below. To view the entire chapter, please use the Source File's url.)

Section 11.60.010 Findings & Purpose

The council finds as follows:

A. Solid waste that is non-degradable or non-recyclable poses an acute problem for any environmentally and financially responsible program of solid waste management. Such waste covers the City's streets, parks, public places, and open spaces. It enters the marine and natural environment and is ingested by aquatic wildlife, frequently causing death. There is resultant damage to the ecological balance.

B. Products which are degradable or recyclable offer environmentally sound alternatives or non-degradable and non-recyclable products currently used. By decaying into their constituent substances, degradable products, compared to their non-degradable equivalents, are less of a danger to the natural environment, and less of a permanent blight on the urban landscape. Recycling of products reduces costly waste of natural resources and energy used in production of new products as well as costly disposal of waste in landfills.

C. Polystyrene foam is a petroleum processing by-product. Oil is a non-renewable resource, which can only be obtained by increasingly hazardous methods such as off-shore drilling, which poses significant dangers to the environment. Alternative products which are degradable or recyclable pose far less overall hazards than continued and expanded reliance on oil-based products.

D. Evidence indicates that all blowing agents currently used or proposed in connection with the manufacture of polystyrene foam pose dangers to the environment. Beyond the generally acknowledged dangers of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to the ozone layer, which are addressed in another City of Berkeley ordinance, other blowing agents also create dangers. For example, the blowing agent pentane creates hazardous earth-level smog and has already been restricted in some regions for air quality reasons.

E. Takeout food packaging constitutes the single greatest source of litter in Berkeley and is a significant contributor to the total amount of waste entering the City's waste stream.

F. It is in the interest of the health, safety, and welfare of all who live, work and do business in the City that the amount of litter on the public streets, parks, public places, and open spaces be reduced.

G. The City of Berkeley has the duty to responsibly dispose of its solid waste, yet existing landfill sites are rapidly approaching capacity, and additional sites are increasingly unavailable.

H. Reduction of the amount of non-degradable waste entering the waste stream and encouraging the use of recyclable containers further this goal.

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