Potential styrofoam food container ban dead for now

Those for and against a ban on styrofoam food containers showed up in force at Honolulu Hale Wednesday.

Honolulu City Council’s committee on public works and sustainability considered a bill that would ban the familiar plate lunch containers by 2016.

Opponents say the bill would cost jobs and put some restaurants out of business while supporters say the bill is necessary to prevent environmental pollution.

Environmental activist Ari Patz said, “We know that it causes cancer in animals. It is a likely carcinogen in human beings and it will likely be defined as a carcinogen in human beings very soon. We’re adding this into the food chain here.”

“We ask that you hold back this bill that could unnecessarily put 100 of our fellow citizens out of jobs and increase the steep cost of doing business for our local companies,” countered Carmelita Dayao-Phillips from KYD, Inc., a local packaging distributor and styrofoam container manufacturer.

“People talk about it’s only going to cost you a few cents per customer, and that’s true, but the average food service operator runs on a profit margin of about three percent,” said Harris Sukita of Simply Ono lunch wagon.

At the end of the day, the committee deferred the bill, though the council could take it up again at a later date.

Read Bill 40 in its entirety.

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