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We welcome the ban on Styrofoam | Editorial
Say goodbye to Styrofoam to-go food containers — those insidious, forever hazards to our health and the environment that sustains us — in Friday Harbor.
The Friday Harbor Town Council voted 5-0 Thursday to ban Styrofoam to-go food containers, effective April 22. The County Council is expected to follow.
Hopefully, our gratitude to local anti-Styrofoam crusader Doris Estabrooks will last longer than the Styrofoam that is in our landfills, our seas, our oceans. She has devoted much of the last three years researching the environmental and public health hazards of Styrofoam, talked to local restaurants about alternative containers made from corn starch or paper, collected more than 1,000 petition signatures calling for action by local government, and energized the San Juan Anti-Litter Initiative to take up the cause.
The ordinance adopted by the Town Council is more than fair: It takes effect in eight months, plenty of time for public education and outreach, plenty of time for businesses to exhaust or replace their current supplies, plenty of time to find alternatives. There are exemptions for packaged foods that are shipped here from off-island.
But this is only a beginning. Whether on island or the mainland, we should always ask for to-go containers made from compostable or recyclable materials. We should always seek to reduce the packaging that comes into our lives when we shop. “Reduce, reuse, recycle” must be our mantra.
As that growing, swirling soup of pollution in the Pacific Ocean shows, we don’t have a choice.