California Considers Packaging Ban

California Assembly Bill 820, which would ban the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging materials in state facilities, was passed in the Natural Resources Committee and has now moved to the Appropriations Committee, according to the Raymond Environmental Bulletin. The law primarily targets EPS food packaging, which is generally not recyclable. If the bill becomes law, state facilities would be required to demonstrate they will not distribute or possess foamed polystyrene food packaging. As part of the rationale for the rule, environmental groups pointed out recyclable alternatives exist.

A nationwide, online survey conducted in the US revealed that 72% of Americans do not know conventional plastic is made from petroleum products. Nearly 10% of US oil consumption (approximately 2 million barrels a day) is used to make plastic, says the InsightExpress report on the survey. The survey was conducted for Telles, a joint venture of Metabolix Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland.

Further, survey respondents were unaware that plastics will not biodegrade. Of the respondents, 40% believed plastics biodegrade underground, in home compost, in landfills, or in the ocean. On the subject of recycling, survey respondents believed nearly 40% of plastics are recycled. The actual figure is 5.7%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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