TRENTON, NJ - Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) that would eliminate the use of non-renewable polystyrene products at New Jersey’s public schools and colleges has passed the Senate.

“To protect our environment, we need to end the use of Styrofoam,” Bateman said. “These harmful products take over 500 years to biodegrade, pollute our waterways, and contribute significantly to our solid waste stream. Creating opportunities for schools and colleges to use reusable or recyclable plates, cups, and packaging can protect the environment while teaching an important lesson to New Jersey’s students.”

Expanded polystyrene, more commonly known as “Styrofoam,” is a type of plastic manufactured from nonrenewable petroleum that is used to make food service products such as plates, cups, and packaging.

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Many New Jersey school districts are already working towards eliminating Styrofoam products from their cafeterias. A representative from the NJ School Boards Association highlighted that one district is using reusable and washable plates as an alternative to Styrofoam products.

Bateman’s bipartisan legislation provides school districts and public institutions of higher education one year to switch to alternative food service products.

“The impact of switching to reusable and recyclable cups from Styrofoam is substantial,” Bateman added. “By making the change now, we can prevent the future clean-up costs associated with products that we know are extremely bad for the environment.”

The legislation now heads to the Assembly for consideration.