Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

April 9, 2019

Cohen Supports Legislation to
Ban Styrofoam Trays in Schools as Bill Passes State Senate


HARTFORD, CT – Today, the state Senate voted to ban Styrofoam trays from all schools by a bipartisan 29 to 6 vote. Sen. Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) worked collaboratively across the political aisle to introduce the legislation. Sen. Cohen co-chairs the Environment Committee and said this is a bill which will keep harmful chemicals out of our schools and away from our landfills and incinerators.

“Styrofoam is not biodegradable nor is it currently recyclable in Connecticut. Additionally, it presents a bevy of health risks for animals and individuals including its potential carcinogenic nature” said Sen. Cohen. “With safer and environmentally-friendly alternatives available, there is no need to continue to expose our children and our environment to this harmful material. I applaud the state Senate for passing this legislation and am thrilled that we are moving closer to a Styrofoam-free state.”

Senate Bill 229, “An act prohibiting the use of Styrofoam trays in Connecticut schools,” will ban Styrofoam, the brand name for expanded polystyrene, in all Connecticut schools, colleges and universities. This material is not biodegradable and can wreak havoc on animals and sea life that might confuse the harmful material for food or shelter after it has been discarded. This 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 banning this harmful material. Currently, 12 cities have expanded polystyrene bans. On May 1, Maine became the first state to ban food containers made of this non-biodegradable material.

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.