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Polystyrene Ban Now in Effect

In a continuing effort to meet its Zero Waste goal, the university has prohibited the sale, procurement and distribution of packaging foam as of Jan. 1, 2020. The ban applies systemwide, with the exception of laboratory or medical products.

According to the EPA, containers and packaging make up a major portion of municipal solid waste, totaling about 30% of all municipal solid waste in 2017. Unlike cardboard and paper packaging, Polystyrene (like Styrofoam) and other foams are especially difficult to recycle and most municipalities do not provide curbside recycling of these materials. Replacing foam packing with alternative packaging will make a significant impact on reducing waste, particularly in the areas of furniture and IT equipment.

As a result of 2019 improvements to the UC Sustainable Practices Policy, Procurement & Contracting Services at UC Davis already allocates 15% of the points utilized in evaluating Requests for Proposals to sustainable practices.  Future contracting activities will now articulate the foam ban to potential suppliers.  Together, these policies help UC Davis deliver more sustainable solutions from the Supply Chain.

Interested in learning more about how to reduce waste and make more sustainable purchases? Here’s a few places to start.

  • The Sustainable Procurement Guidelines describe sustainability requirements for products and services purchase by the University of California.
  • The UC Davis Office of Sustainability has a wealth of information on waste reduction and other sustainability efforts.
  • Ecomedes is a software platform that provides sustainability data on specific products, making it easier for shoppers to make environmentally conscious buying decisions on an individual basis.
  • Lab personnel can visit My Green Lab, a non-profit organization committed to environmentally-responsible lab practices.