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Ald. Ed Burke Fights The War On Foam

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Feb 11, 2010 10:00PM

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The Lieutenant Governor's office isn't the only potential endangered specie: styrofoam's day of reckoning may be near if Alderman Ed Burke (14th) gets his wish. Burke proposed an ordinance that would ban all use of styrofoam in the city. Burke was inspired to introduce the bill after learning Chicago Public Schools use and throw out 35 million styrofoam lunch trays in a year. He told the Sun-Times:

“This particular product remains in landfills forever and ever and never breaks down. ... We’ve got to start thinking about how to change people’s habits. ... We’ll be on the cutting edge of trying to regulate the environment,” Burke said.

“I don’t think we’re interested in snapping our fingers and stopping it immediately. But, I don’t see why we can’t explore how to phase in this kind of a change. ... Sometimes, you have to push the envelope a little bit in order to get to where we ought to be.”

A first time violation would net a $300 fine and every violation after would cost violators $500. The ban is facing opposition from the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. President David Vite claimed a ban would hurt business: “We should be trying to think of ways to get people back to work instead of focussing [sic] on things that add cost to the Chicago business community...So, we’ll either have cold or spoiled food or people won’t have available to them vehicles to take their food out."