The Delaware Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation applauds the passage of Delaware Senate Bill 51, which bans the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam (commonly known as Styrofoam™) food containers, and mandates that plastic straws be given to customers only on request. The Bill applies to all eating establishments.
Senate Bill 51 was passed by the Delaware House on June 22, 2023, by the Senate on June 27, and goes into effect on July 1, 2025. Governor Carney is expected to sign the Bill into law.
Chapter volunteers and Surfrider staff testified at multiple hearings over the three years that the Bill was being considered by the legislature, contacted their elected officials directly, and promoted an action alert which sent those officials an email. The Chapter worked closely with coalition partners at Plastic Free Delaware.
EPS foam foodware is not economically feasible to recycle as it has little to no value and high contamination from food residue. New York City’s Department of Sanitation has done extensive research on the recyclability of EPS foam and found that, in the eight largest recycling programs in North America that collect EPS foam, none were recycling EPS foodware.
EPS food containers pose a human health risk, as they can leach small amounts of the toxin styrene when they come into contact with warm food or drink, alcohol, oils, and acidic foods.
Bill 51 also bans plastic sandwich picks, cocktail picks, and beverage stirrers.