Using polystyrene foam (PS6) containers to package food will not be allowed in Pleasanton starting July 1, 2013.

The city council unanimously approved the ban.

The ordinance will require food vendors, including restaurants, delis, supermarkets, cafeterias, street vendors and other food outlets to provide their customers with containers that are either recyclable or compostable.

The new rules would not impact the use of the containers for raw foods, such as trays for raw meats in supermarkets and food prepackaged outside of Pleasanton, such as Cup of Noodles.

Food vendors would have until January 1, 2014 to replace PS6 containers.

Daniel Smith, Director of Operations Services, said there are several reasons to implement the ban. In most cases the PS6 containers end up in landfills. They don't biodegrade. When they are crumbled, little pieces end up in the stormwater drains. In addition, there is a health impact. Heating the containers releases a carcinogen.

He stated that the ban will help the city to meet its new stormwater requirements to reduce trash in its discharge by 40 percent over baseline by July 2014. It will also assist in meeting the goal of zero waste going to a landfill.

Smith told the countil that a notice sent to businesses about the ordinance drew only two comments, with no protests. In and Out said that it was already in compliance. Smith said, "What we learned was that many businesses had already made the switch."

Mayor Jerry Thorne commented, "This is something I would have done before banning plastic bags. When I was at HP, we got rid of foam containers in 1990."