SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Many state agencies may soon have to change the type of foodware they hand out.
The bill bans the use of polystyrene from being handed out by state agencies and public universities; instead, starting on Jan, 1, 2025, they must offer compostable or recyclable options.
“The importance of it is really to reduce the amount of single use plastics that we have in our environment, which is both good for our environment as well as public health,” Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, the House sponsor said.
The bill would also impact vendors contracted through state agencies. After Jan. 1, 2026, vendors would also have to make sure foodware they serve is compostable or recyclable.
Environmental advocates believe polystyrene containers pollute the state.
“Plastic waste litters our communities, our ecosystems, and now also shows up in our drinking water and our bodies,” Sierra Club Illinois Director Jack Darin said. “State government should set an example by reducing and ultimately eliminating plastic foam waste in our state.”
Republican legislators largely did not support, worrying about the bill’s effect on manufacturing.
“At least 25% of polystyrene in North America is manufactured in Illinois,” Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) said. “Polystyrene foodware is also manufactured at a number of manufacturing facilities throughout the state. So there will be an impact.”
The bill passed the House 71-43 and heads to the Senate. The chamber passed an earlier version of the bill with bipartisan support.