Statement: Legislation to phase out plastic foam food ware advances

Media Contacts
Abe Scarr

State Director, Illinois PIRG; Energy and Utilities Program Director, PIRG

Legislation to phase out the use of single-use plastic polystyrene foam food ware starting in 2024 advanced out of the Illinois House Tuesday afternoon on an 67-43 vote. 

The EPA estimates that Americans throw away almost 70 million plastic foam cups every day. Twenty-two million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes each year and just over half of that ends up in Lake Michigan alone. Already, eight states and roughly 200 cities and municipalities have enacted bans on polystyrene foam containers. 

HB2376, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, is a priority for the Coalition for Plastic Reduction, a coalition of more than 35 organizations across Illinois. 

In response to the favorable vote, Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River, a partner organization in the Coalition for Plastic Reduction, said:

“Illinois’ lakes and rivers are among its greatest assets. But plastic pollution puts our waterways at risk, polluting our drinking water and harming wildlife. We can’t recycle our way out of our plastic pollution problem. We need to stop it at its source. Phasing out single-use plastic polystyrene foam foodware is an important step toward addressing single use plastic pollution. We thank Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz for championing HB2376 and call on the Senate to follow the House’s lead in passing this critical legislation.”