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    Saturday, December 7, 2019-12:23:54A.M.






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Bill to ban Styrofoam, other disposable food containers starting in 2022

REPRESENTATIVE Ivan Blanco on Friday pre-filed a bill that would prohibit the use of Styrofoam and other disposable food containers beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

House Bill 21-89 states that businesses need time “to adjust/exhaust their inventory and seek environmentally safer disposable food service containers.”

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, if H.B. 21-22 becomes law, “a food establishment may not process, prepare, sell or provide food or beverages in or on a disposable food service container that is composed in whole or in part, of polystyrene foam.”

H.B. 21-89 would impose a fine of not more than $100 for any violation of the measure.

The bill, however, would exempt the use of Styrofoam “in an emergency” that requires “the immediate preservation of public health or safety.” Also to be exempted are products prepackaged at wholesale.

According to the bill, the CNMI has “no economically feasible means of recycling polystyrene foam locally, thus a majority of used polystyrene foam end up in the landfill. In addition, expanded polystyrene is a common environmental pollutant that poses a risk to the fragile ecological balance, since marine and land wildlife often perish as a result of ingesting expanded polystyrene products. The risk can occur over and over again since expanded polystyrene remains in the ecosystem for a very long time.”

There should be “regulations [to] prohibit the use of certain expanded polystyrene food service products and disposable food service ware to reduce the cost of solid waste disposal, to protect our fragile environment and ecosystems, and our wildlife and marine life,” the bill stated.