The state Senate voted May 9 to ban Styrofoam trays from all schools by a bipartisan 29 to six vote. State Senator James Maroney (D-Milford) introduced the bill at the beginning of the legislative session with the help of Milford high school students who participate in his legislative internship program.
Maroney voted in support of the legislation and said getting this harmful material out of Connecticut schools will greatly benefit students and the state’s ecosystem and thanked the Milford students for bringing the matter to his attention.
“Thank you to Ming-May Hu and Kruttika Gopal, the two Jonathan Law High School students for bringing the proposal to me,” said Maroney. “Due to their efforts in assisting me in drafting the original language of this bill, the hard work of the Environment Committee to take this legislation on and pass it, and the state Senate’s overwhelming support of this legislation, we are closer to having safer alternatives for trays in our schools which will not put our students or our ecosystem at risk.”
Senate Bill 229, “An act prohibiting the use of Styrofoam trays in Connecticut schools,” would ban Styrofoam, the brand name for expanded polystyrene in all Connecticut schools, colleges and universities. The bill prohibits school districts and regional school districts from entering into purchasing contracts for trays made of expanded polystyrene.
Under the bill, each school district is required to develop a plan for discontinuing the use of expanded polystyrene trays. Each plan must require the district to discontinue the use of expanded polystyrene trays by July 1, 2021. The state Senate’s passage of this legislation comes as cities across the nation are also banning the material, state officials said. Currently, 12 cities have expanded polystyrene bans. On May 1, Maine became the first state to ban food containers made of the non-biodegradable material.
“Today we have taken a step towards ensuring our young people and our environment are safe,” said Maroney. “Chemicals in expanded polystyrene trays can leach into food presenting considerable, serious health risks. I am hopeful Senate Bill 229 will continue to advance and become law, keeping Styrofoam trays out of our schools.”
Before passing the state Senate, SB 229 made it out of the Environment Committee by a 20-8 vote on March 18. The bill now awaits action by the state House of Representatives and if passed by the House, it will head to Governor Ned Lamont.