Bill to phase out polystyrene foodware, PFAS from food packaging advances to the Senate floor

Senate Bill 543, which would phase out polystyrene foam foodware, packing peanuts and coolers and PFAS in food packaging passed unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Energy & Environment on Thursday.

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Expanded polystyrene is a form of foamed plastic made from fossil fuels commonly used for food containers and packaging. This disposable packaging is usually thrown away after a single use and breaks up easily into smaller pieces that are hard to clean up, disperse rapidly due to their lightweight nature, and can persist in the environment for centuries. Plastic foam is not accepted in curbside recycling and is one of the top items found polluting Oregon’s beaches.

PFAS are a class of highly fluorinated toxic chemicals used in many food containers and packaging due to their oil-, stain- and water- repellent properties. PFAS are “forever chemicals” that accumulate in the environment and our bodies and are linked to cancer, high cholesterol, reproductive and thyroid problems, and immune suppression.

Senate Bill 543 would phase out polystyrene foam foodware, packing peanuts and coolers, and phase out PFAS from food packaging starting on January 1, 2025.

Ashland, Eugene, Florence, Lincoln City, Medford, Milwaukie, Newport, Portland, and Silverton have already passed ordinances prohibiting polystyrene foam foodware in Oregon.

Now it’s time for a statewide solution.

“Nothing we use for just a few minutes should pollute the environment for hundreds of years,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, State Director with Environment Oregon. “Thanks to Senator Sollman’s leadership and the work of our broad, diverse coalition, Oregon is one step closer to joining nine Oregon cities and eight other states that have taken action to reduce wasteful polystyrene foodware and other products, and we look forward to seeing this bill continue to move through the legislature.”

Senate Bill 543 now heads to the Senate floor. 


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