Del. Legislation Seeks To ban Single-Use Plastic Coffee Stirrers, Polystyrene Containers At Restaurants

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Delaware restaurants would be prohibited from serving ready-to-eat food in polystyrene containers, under legislation that has been approved in the State Senate. Polystyrene is best known as Styrofoam.

The bill, Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 134, would also require restaurants to only provide single-use plastic straws if requested by a customer, and single-use plastic coffee stirrers, cocktail sticks and sandwich picks would also be banned.

“I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for recognizing that we have a responsibility to reduce the amount of these products entering our environment,” State Senator Trey Paradee, D-Dover said. “These products are harmful to wildlife and are potentially dangerous to human health. Over the past several decades, the low-cost of these products has made them very popular in our society, but, today, many low-cost alternatives exist that are less harmful. As a coastal state with a vibrant tourism industry that is critical to our economy and our quality of life, we need to join other states that have already banned these products and set an example for our children to follow.”  

According to the sponsors of the bill:

Between 2008 and 2019, thousands of pieces of polystyrene litter were found along Delaware beaches during annual coastal cleanup events including 2,528 takeout containers, 2,626 cups and plates, and 15,0644 other pieces of polystyrene. A 2018 study of visible litter along Delaware highways found an average of 498 pieces of polystyrene litter per mile.  

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“We know that pollution from single-use plastics has become a serious public health and environmental hazard—it’s bad for our ecosystems and bad for our bodies,” State Representative Paul Baumbach, D-Newark said. “Moving away from non-biodegradable materials will go a long way toward protecting public health and reducing the amount of litter in our environment and waterways. We owe it to our grandkids to take this step.” 

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