Polystyrene Reduction Initiative

Introduction


The Avon Town Council is proposing the adoption of a new ordinance that would prohibit food vendors from using polystyrene-based disposable food service ware. First reading of the ordinance is scheduled for September 12, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. in Avon Town Hall.

Project Summary


Polystyrene is a petroleum-based lightweight plastic material that can be formed into many different products. It is often referred to by the name “Styrofoam.” Polystyrene is used as a disposable, single-use food service container, also referred to as food service ware, which comes in many forms such as plates, cups, bowls, trays and lidded containers, known as clamshells. Polystyrene is frequently used by restaurants and food establishments as containers for take-out food orders or to bring home leftover food after dining. In some cases polystyrene may be used as the primary serving mechanism or food ware, rather than ceramic or plastic reusable alternatives, for the more casual eateries and fast food establishments.

The proposed Ordinance would prohibit restaurants and other food establishments within the Town of Avon from using polystyrene plates, cups, bowls, trays and lidded containers. The Ordinance would exempt straws, utensils and cup lids, disposable packaging for unprepared foods and prepackaged foods. Prepackaged food is defined as food processed and packaged off-site to prevent any direct human contact with the food product upon distribution from the manufacturer. In addition, polystyrene coolers and ice chests intended for reuse would also be exempted from the Ordinance. The Ordinance would apply to all food vendors within the Town of Avon and would be enforced by the Town of Avon. A food vendor is defined as any vendor, business, organization, entity, group or individual, including licensed retail food establishments, that provides prepared food at a retail level. This includes all types of food establishments, full service restaurants as well as fast food restaurants.

Background


In December 2016, the Town Council adopted the Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community (CAP), which reflects a strong commitment to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The CAP also includes details on programs, projects and policies that can be undertaken to reduce GHG emissions. One of the recommended policies, located in the “Waste and Landfill” section of Appendix A of the CAP, is identified as “Packaging policies, get rid of Styrofoam.” Subsequently, in February 2017, the Town Council adopted the Town of Avon 2017-2018 Strategic Plan Update (Strategic Plan). The Strategic Plan includes a “Tier 1” priority to “Consider legislation to end the use plastic bags and non-compostable take-out containers by retailers and restaurants in the Town of Avon.”

Polystyrene foam is a common pollutant and a threat to natural ecosystems that fragments into smaller, non-biodegradable pieces that are difficult to clean up and can harm marine life and other wildlife. The purpose of the Ordinance is to reduce the amount of polystyrene foam food service ware litter in the environment to improve water quality and achieve the Town’s environmental objectives. 
 

September 12, 2017 First Reading


First reading of the ordinance is scheduled for September 12, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers at Town Hall, 1 Lake Street, Avon, Colorado. 

Public Comment


The Town Council will take public comment at the work session. Written comments may also be submitted prior to September 11, 2017, at 5:00 pm. Comments should be emailed to Debbie Hoppe, Town Clerk, at dhoppe@avon.org. All submitted comments will be included in the public record and will be reviewed by the Town Council. If you have questions, please call Preston Neill, Executive Assistant to the Town Manager, at (970)748-4404.