Fayetteville City Council moves to second reading for styrofoam ban, postpones vote

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as its brand name, styrofoam, could be a thing of the past in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville City Council moved to a second reading for a proposed ordinance banning the city and any business on city property from buying styrofoam products.

Erin Scott is on the Fayetteville Environmental Action Committee as the science liaison.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend an ordinance banning styrofoam on city property to the city council.

“It does not really decompose. It does break down into smaller and smaller pieces, and so it can persist in for a long time in the environment, it can get into food webs. It can be an eye sore as litter,” Scott said. “There’s also a concern I think for it being transported further downstream into our drinking water supply, which is Beaver Lake.”

On Tuesday night, the council voted to move ahead to the second reading of the ordinance.

Scott adds, “I think that it’s a positive thing.”

If approved, the city will ask vendors on city property, like food truck operators or concession stands in city parks and parking lots, to use more environmentally friendly products, like paper or other compostable materials that are biodegradable.

Homestyle Cravings food truck owner Randal Hendon says he prefers using styrofoam because it’s light, stable, and a cheaper alternative.

“I come here for the abundance of food trucks and the population of the poeple around here seem to accept them really well” Hendon said. “I want to keep my prices as cheap as I can to attract as many people in. If I have to change out to something way more expensive, I’m actually going to have to pass it off to the consumer and I don’t really want to do that.”

The ordinance would have a six month grace period for business owners.

If approved, Hendon says, “I would have to rethink being in Fayetteville.” 

Others say it’s a step in the right direction, and it might not even go far enough.

“I think Fayetteville really prides itself on being more progressive with environmental issues, and I think this is a good step towards that larger goal,” Scott said.

The City Council will vote on the ordinance at the next meeting, scheduled for May 21. City Council Member Teresa Turk, the sponsor of the ordinance, says she would like to see more public input before the vote.

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