Los Gatos ban against foam containers for food, ice goes into effect

A ban against the sale of foam containers to carry food, drinks or ice in Los Gatos went into effect Monday as a means to improve the town's environment.

The Los Gatos Town Council adopted an ordinance in December prohibiting the sale of expanded or extruded polystyrene foam.

The ban means places such as food vendors won't be able to provide foam containers such as cups, bowls, plates, trays and cartons for customers, town officials said.

Food vendors can instead use containers made of paper, plastic or reusable materials, according to Los Gatos officials.

No one will be able to buy polystyrene foam ice chests or coolers but there is an exception for containers made of more durable material, such as metal, with a foam core, town officials said.

The ordinance is part of the town's effort to reduce litter that can travel through waterways, eventually reaching the San Francisco or Monterey bays and Pacific Ocean.

The foam is lightweight material that can easily break apart and travel by wind into the environment and is difficult to clean up. Animals may mistaken the material for food and swallow it, leading to illness or death, according to town officials.

Click here for more information on the ban.
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