London chefs urge Mayor to ban polystyrene packaging

23 August 2016 (Last Updated August 23rd, 2016 18:30)

A group of chefs and food experts from London, UK, has requested the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to ban polystyrene packaging across the city due to environmental and health problems.

A group of chefs and food experts from London, UK, has requested the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to ban polystyrene packaging across the city due to environmental and health problems.

The group includes chefs Ed Baines, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Theo Randall and Mark Hix, and food critic William Sitwell.

Expressing concern over the environmental impact of non-biodegradable materials, the group has also claimed that the extensive use of polystyrene packaging downgrades London’s recycling performance.

Polystyrene requires an expensive and difficult recycling process, which leads to the material being dumped in landfill sites.

Packaging developed from polystyrene never biodegrades and pollutes waterways.

In addition, harmful chemicals used in the production of polystyrene can cause cancer.

"We should be doing everything we can to get Londoners to use safer, environmentally friendly, recyclable packaging."

Ed Baines said: “As a chef committed to sustainability and food provenance, I am very concerned about the use of harmful packaging materials such as polystyrene throughout London.

“Not only are the mountains of polystyrene waste environmentally damaging and unsightly, it has also been shown to be harmful to health! We should be doing everything we can to get Londoners to use safer, environmentally friendly, recyclable packaging.”

In June, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to ban many commonly used polystyrene products, such as food packaging, coffee cups, and meat and fish trays used by restaurants and cafes.

Bans were also imposed in several other US cities, including New York, Seattle and Washington DC.

Moreover, the chefs and suppliers across the UK and Europe are increasingly using recyclable and paper-based alternatives to polystyrene packaging to improve environmental performance.


Image: London chefs call for ban on polystyrene packaging. Photo: courtesy of Hawthorn.