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Santa Rosa City Council bans single-use disposable food ware beginning Jan. 1, 2022

Andrew Graham, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Say goodbye to the Polystyrene to-go box.

A variety of single-use food containers will be banned in Santa Rosa beginning Jan. 1, 2022 under a new ordinance passed by the city council Tuesday night.

The city has a Santa Rosa Zero Waste Master Plan that calls for reducing the city’s trash output by more than half — from today’s 2.5 pounds of trash per person per day to one pound per person per day — by 2030.

In pursuit of that goal, the city’s new ordinance will ban the use or sale of food service containers made of Polystyrene foam. The ban will eliminate the ubiquitous white foam “clamshell” food box used by food truck and to-go food vendors.

The city will also outlaw food service ware containing chemicals known as PFAS. Sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found these chemicals to last for a long time in both the human body and environment without breaking down. Research has found various adverse impacts on human health.

Also under the ordinance, restaurants will provide plastic food ware only upon request. Restaurants can only offer reusable dishes and cutlery for on-site dining.

With the council’s vote, Santa Rosa joined a wave of Sonoma County cities passing ordinances banning single use food containers. Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Windsor have all passed some version of the ordinance, though two of those cities are now considering an amendment to include the ban on PFAS.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on an ordinance in late August.

The ordinances have been pushed by Zero Waste Sonoma, a joint powers board governing waste management for both the unincorporated county and Sonoma County cities.

Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/santa-rosa-city-council-bans-single-use-disposable-food-ware-beginning-jan/

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The recycling myth: Big Oil’s solution for plastic waste littered with failure

Joe Brock, Valerie Volcovici and John Geddie, REUTERS

In early 2018, residents of Boise, Idaho were told by city officials that a breakthrough technology could transform their hard-to-recycle plastic waste into low-polluting fuel. The program, backed by Dow Inc, one of the world’s biggest plastics producers, was hailed locally as a greener alternative to burying it in the county landfill.

A few months later, residents of Boise and its suburbs began stuffing their yogurt containers, cereal-box liners and other plastic waste into special orange garbage bags, which were then trucked more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) away, across the state line to Salt Lake City, Utah.

The destination was a company called Renewlogy. The startup marketed itself as an “advanced recycling” company capable of handling hard-to-recycle plastics such as plastic bags or takeout containers – stuff most traditional recyclers won’t touch. Renewlogy’s technology, company founder Priyanka Bakaya told local media at the time, would heat plastic in a special oxygen-starved chamber, transforming the trash into diesel fuel.

Within a year, however, that effort ground to a halt. The project’s failure, detailed for the first time by Reuters, shows the enormous obstacles confronting advanced recycling, a set of reprocessing technologies that the plastics industry is touting as an environmental savior – and sees as key to its own continued growth amid mounting global pressure to curb the use of plastic.

Read more at https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/environment-plastic-oil-recycling/