(TRENTON) – Bipartisan legislation sponsored in part by Assemblyman Troy Singleton to end the use of “expanded polystyrene food containers” in public schools and state colleges and universities received approval by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Thursday.
The bill (A-4013) requires every public school and public institution of higher education to ensure that no food or beverage packaged or contained in an expanded polystyrene food container is sold, offered for sale, or otherwise provided in the school or institution.
“As we move toward creating a more sustainable environment in New Jersey, we must take a look at the products we use that are comprised of materials hard to recycle or reuse,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “Polystyrene foam is one of those materials.”
Expanded polystyrene is defined in the bill as blown polystyrene and expanded and extruded foams that are thermoplastic petrochemical materials utilizing a styrene monomer and processed by a number of techniques, including, but not limited to, fusion of polymer spheres (expandable bead polystyrene), injection molding, foam molding, and extrusion-blow molding (extruded foam polystyrene).
An “expanded polystyrene food container” is defined in the bill as a container, plate, hot or cold beverage cup, tray, carton, or other product made of expanded polystyrene and used for selling or providing food or beverage.
“Many environmentalists have noted the use of expanded polystyrene as harmful to the environment and wildlife because it is not biodegradable,” continued Singleton. “This legislation takes a step toward reducing the reliance on expanded polystyrene containers and encourages our schools to seek more environmentally friendly alternatives.”
The prohibition would not apply to any food or beverage that was filled and sealed in an expanded polystyrene food container before the school received it.
The bill will now go to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.