You Ask, Patch Answers: When Will Los Gatos Ban Styrofoam?

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Siu mei with rice in a Styrofoam takeout container. Courtesy Wikimedia
Siu mei with rice in a Styrofoam takeout container. Courtesy Wikimedia
Back by popular demand, "You Ask ... Patch Answers,” our Sunday feature where we strive to find answers to all your questions—big, small and in-between—about the town we live and work in.

Whether it’s something you’ve always wondered about, some information you just can’t put your hands on or a sudden curiosity, we want to hear it.

This week's question comes from Los Gatos Patch reader Mckenna Smith
who asked: "Los Gatos banned plastic bags in August and we won't be able to use them anywhere in February of next year ... I hear the town is now banning Styrofoam. Is this true? Thinking not good for the stores, but good for the environment."

To get an answer for Smith, we contacted Los Gatos Town Manager Greg Larson who referred us to his assistant, Christina Gilmore, the staff liaison for the plastic bag information.

Town staff said any discussion and/or potential ban on polystyrene products, better known by the popular trade name Styrofoam, is in preliminary stages, with no current "status" and no defined schedule to come before the Council for consideration.

Town staff said since no reports have been prepared on the issue, they don't know how many towns in Santa Clara County have prohibited polystyrene products used by retailers to transport food and beverages.

Asked if the possible ban would include Styrofoam fast food containers and Styrofoam products at retails stores, town staff again said they didn't have that information readily available.

Have any restaurants in town written the Council or Larson about this issue? Town staff again declined to give a specific answer.

The Los Gatos Town Council indeed banned plastic bags on Aug. 19. The ordinance applies to all retail stores that sell clothing, food, and personal items directly to consumers. It takes effect Feb. 3, 2014.

Styrofoam products are disliked by environmentalists who say they're not biodegradable and are difficult to recyle. The containers, they say, end up being littered, or adding to already overloaded landfills.

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