Update: October 20, 2020
The Stamford Board of Representatives voted on October 5, 2020, to pass the polystyrene ordinance (34 in favor, 2 against, 1 abstaining, and a few excused)!
An amendment was made prior to passage to remove the extension for public schools to comply with the ordinance, from January 1, 2023, to the same time as all other entities, six months from the passage.
Stamford public schools have faced immense stress in COVID-19, from developing and implementing dynamic hybrid learning approaches for students to dealing with a serious mold issue, and the logistics and costs surrounding remedy for that. This is why Representatives on the Legislative and Rules Committee voted to allow for a two-year delay for schools to come into compliance with the foam ordinance.
While we did not advocate for the delay to be removed before passage, we are happy with the outcome that helps attain greater environmental justice! This amendment promotes equity of access to a healthy and foam-free environment for all Stamford residents by requiring all entities that fall within the purview of the regulation to comply at the same time, six months after passage (April 2021).
The ordinance was signed into law by Mayor Martin on October 20, 2020.
The Stamford Board of Representatives deliberated a new ordinance that would ban certain single-use polystyrene containers, city-wide.
The chapter and our Northeast Regional Manager, along with our legal staff, reviewed the pending ordinance and offered feedback on the language and policy mechanisms to help draft the initially introduced ordinance. We recommended not only banning “Styrofoam” like containers, but also rigid forms of polystyrene, including utensils.
On September 17, 2019, our Northeast Regional Manager and Chapter Chair attended a Legislative and Rules committee meeting, where our Regional Manager provided expert witness to the Committee regarding polystyrene. We then furnished a packet for the Committee to review the mounting science, policy and other evidence creating a strong case for support of passing this ban.
On February 18, 2020, the ordinance was put on hold as State bill S.99 to ban certain foam packaging and fill products advanced in the General Assembly. S.99 would have preempted local legislation of similar nature if passed to ban polystyrene statewide. While there was widespread support for S.99, COVID-19 interrupted progress. At that point, the Committee moved to advance their local ordinance again, picking it back up in August 2020.
The Committee held its final public hearing by Zoom on Tuesday, September 22 at 7PM, which our Regional Manager provided substantive written testimony to support and our CT Chair attended to offer spoken testimony. The Committee voted unanimously to approve the final language of the proposed ordinance, passing the ordinance forward for the consideration of the Board of Representatives at their Monday, October 5, 2020 meeting!
On October 5, 2020, the Board of Representatives voted to pass the ordinance as amended (34-2-1) to remove the two-year delay for enforcement at public schools. This is excellent news that keeps Stamford at the forefront of environmental progress in Connecticut!
THANKS to all who helped achieve this important win. Now, onward to other CT municipalities and again, to the Assembly!
For more information and to engage directly on this issue in Connecticut, please reach out to our volunteer CT Chapter Chair.