Doris Estabrook has championed a Styrofoam ban since 2004
Tuesday, Jan 5 2010 - The San Juan County Council today adopted an Ordinance banning food service businesses from using Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) containers for take-out or eat-in packaging. The ordinance mirrors an ordinance passed last year by the Town of Friday Harbor and will take effect on the same date: April 22, 2010 – which is Earth Day.
Supporters of the ban point out that polystyrene does not biodegrade in landfills and it can leach carcinogenic chemicals.
San Juan Island resident Doris Estabrooks, initially raised the issue publicly in 2004 and has worked steadily to enlist community support, persuade local businesses to move stop using Styrofoam containers, as well as urging both the Town and County Councils to enact the ban.
During deliberations Council Chair Rich Peterson questioned whether businesses could be persuaded not to use Styrofoam without the need for a new regulation. However, during the public hearing, Stephanie Buffum, speaking on behalf of the San Juan Anti-Litter Initiative, said that a recent survey by the San Juan Initiative found, that despite efforts to encourage food service businesses eliminate the non-biodegradable containers, some businesses on San Juan and other Islands continue to use them.
The Ordinance exempts containers which are filled and sealed by companies outside of the County and allows the use of Styrofoam in the packaging of meat, fish and shellfish.
The final vote on the issue was 5-1 with Peterson casting the lone no vote.
A copy of the ordinance is available online at: