01 • 04 • 2021
Oregon Foam and Plastic Free Foodware
Reduce plastic pollution and marine debris through legislative action on EPS foam and plastic foodware
One of the most egregious single-use plastics is expanded polystyrene (EPS), more commonly known as StyrofoamTM. Oregon chapters of Surfrider Foundation are all too familiar with the challenge of this single-use plastic with EPS foam making the top 10 items of all our beach, river and highway cleanups. A nightmare to clean up once in the environment, plastic foam breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, accumulating toxics, fouling the enviornment and endangering wildlife. Surfrider Foundation’s Oregon chapter network is working with a coalition of partners on a statewide bill, HB 2617, that would ban EPS takeout containers and cups across the state - a strong stepping stone for addressing a nasty health and environmental problem associated with single-use plastics and take-out. Learn more about this legislation here via our Foam Free Oregon Fact Sheet.
Getting past single-use plastics in our marine environment means addressing more comprehensively the plastic take-out and foodware culture, beyond just EPS foam. While HB 2617 is a great stepping stone for addressing one of the worst materials, we need to shift away from single-use products and towards reusables rather than other types of single-use products. That’s why Surfrider chapters in Oregon have also introduced proposed legislation, HB 2365, that would require reusable foodware for most dine-in meals and eliminate harmful PFAS toxics in foodware and utensils. Learn more about this legislaton from our Comprehensive Foodware Oregon Fact Sheet.
UPDATE 12/05/2022: The Oregon legislature failed to act in 2021 on the above bills. Throughout 2022, Oregon Surfrider staff and volunteers began expanding a broader coalition of partners in this and other plastic pollution legislative efforts, recognizing the need for increased capacity and advocacy to get this bill across the finish line. In January of 2023, our coalition will launch our legislative strategy to once and for all eliminate EPS foam and rigid single use plastic in take-out foodware. To date, we have 5 key legislative policies targeting plastic pollution and recycling that we will be introducing with our coalition. Stay tuned!