Chicago is attempting to be the next major city to introduce policies to fight the growing and very real problem of plastic and styrofoam pollution by cutting down how many containers, plastic forks, plates, and spoons are given out by restaurants and other businesses in the city.
As well, ordinance calls for a total elimination of polystyrene (styrofoam) food ware which is non-biodegradable.
Currently, more than 300 cities worldwide and 55 countries have banned single-use plastics in an effort to reduce the huge problem that is threatening the health of the planets rivers, lakes, and oceans.
“Only 9% of all plastic produced is recycled in Chicago,” supporters of the ordinance said in a statement. “The rest ends up in landfills, along our streets, in gutters and eventually in our water.”
Restaurants would have to utilize reusable dishes for dine-in orders and recyclable or compostable containers for to-go food under the new ordinance. Restaurants unable to wash dishes or contract out that work will have the ability to request a full or partial waiver under the ordinance.
As well, restaurants have to cut back on disposable food ware items like plastic eating utensils by providing them only be request or at self-service stations.
Plastic straws will also only be available upon request. This exception was made at the request of Access Living to accommodate customers with disabilities who require straws for living.
Jen Walling, president of the Illinois Environmental Council, hailed the proposed ordinance as the “strongest ordinance in the Midwest” and a “mirror” of some of the strongest ordinances in the country.