Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)

Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

Styrofoam has been banished from Tofino and Ucluelet restaurants.

The district offices in both towns announced a ban on polystyrene containers being used as vessels for take-out food on April 14.

Polystyrene foam takeaway containers are now BANNED!

Today, April 14th, businesses in Tofino and Ucluelet can no longer…

Posted by District of Tofino on Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Surfrider Pacific Rim chapter manager Lilly Woodbury touted the new ban as “definitely terrific news” and applauded both towns’ councils and staff for seeing it through.

“The ban on polystyrene containers is another coastal victory on the way towards eliminating all single-use plastic takeaway packaging on the West Coast,” Woodbury wrote in an email to the Westerly News. “Polystyrene takeaway containers are now banned alongside plastic and bioplastic straws and bags, which contributes to a reduction in unrecyclable waste going to landfill or finding its way into the marine environment.”

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet add polystyrene to plastic ban

Tofino and Ucluelet banned plastic bags in 2019 and shared the honour of being the first municipalities in B.C. to ban plastic straws that same year.

Tofino mayor Dan Law told the Westerly News that the decision to add styrofoam to the list of outlawed plastics was an easy one.

“Styrofoam is one of the biggest marine pollutants. It’s just no good. It sticks around forever and it’s next to impossible, I understand to recycle,” he said.

“We’ve got 600,000 or more visitors every year and they get take-out and it just goes into the landfill. So, it’s a great move I think to just get restaurants to use something else.”

He added most of Tofino’s restaurants had already nixed styrofoam from their toolkits prior to the ban taking effect.

“It really wasn’t a big step. The vast majority of businesses were already 100 per cent on board and had switched. In this case the business community really embraced and actually got ahead of the ban,” he said adding he wasn’t surprised to see restaurant owners taking an environmentally friendly approach to their businesses.

READ MORE: Tofino and Ucluelet officially ban plastic bags and straws

Woodbury said polystyrene is one of the most common materials discovered and retrieved during shoreline cleanups both locally and province-wide.

“On average, this material makes up half of what all cleanup groups collect, and out of all plastic resin types, polystyrene is the hardest to fully remove from shorelines,” she wrote. “This is an archaic material to be utilized for food packaging, which is clear looking at the proliferation of bans on this material all over the world, which we’ve now contributed to.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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