Oregon Senate passes bill to phase out polystyrene foam foodware with bipartisan vote

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

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“Products that have a ‘forever’ impact on our planet, like polystyrene, which doesn’t biodegrade, and PFAS forever chemicals that build up in our bodies and environment, should be eliminated,” said Senator Janeen Sollman (SD-15). “Senate Bill 543 is an important step in getting us closer to the zero waste future we’re working to build, and I look forward to my colleagues in the House passing this vital legislation.”

Expanded polystyrene is a form of foamed plastic made from fossil fuels and 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.

Unlike the bill that was introduced in 2019 and again in 2021, Senate Bill 543 includes a phase out of PFAS in food packaging. 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 human bodies and are linked to cancer, high cholesterol, reproductive and thyroid problems, and immune suppression.

“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, 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.”

The bill now heads to the Oregon House for consideration. 

Read our full coalition release here.

Oregon: Turn off the plastic tap

Beyond plastic

Oregon: Turn off the plastic tap

Every year it's becoming more and more clear: We need to turn off the plastic tap. Plastic waste is piling up in our landfills, our communities and our environment. Tell your state legislators to work to prevent plastic pollution this year.

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