Styrofoam ban bill reintroduced upon urging of Guam Youth Congress

Kiana Yabut, UOG's representative from the 33rd Youth Congress. (PNC photo)

In an effort to help the island go green, the 36th Guam Legislature’s youth committee has re-introduced a bill that would ban styrofoam containers.

The bill was introduced upon the recommendation of the 33rd Guam Youth Congress.

Polystyrene foodservice foam, also known as styrofoam, is a non-bio-degradable material that’s estimated to take about 500 years to decompose.

According to the bill, there is a growing rate of expanded polystyrene food-service foams in landfills.

If the bill is approved, restaurants and vendors will no longer be allowed to sell or distribute food in polystyrene styrofoam containers starting January 1st, 2023.

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Kiana Yabut, UOG’s representative from the 33rd Youth Congress, said that since she first set foot in the Youth Congress, she wanted to make sure this bill gets to the legislature.

“I definitely understand that there’s going to be some pushback perhaps from smaller businesses that rely on styrofoam containers. But something I really try to promote is looking long term because in the Guam Youth Congress, we’re obviously the youth and we have so much to think about in the future. One of the reasons this bill is being proposed is because the landfill is filling up too quickly and Guam is one of the highest consumers of styrofoam because we have rosaries and we have things like fiestas. It’s a really big issue that I wanted to solve,” Yabut said.

Yabut also worked with former senator Regine Biscoe Lee on the plastic bag ban.

She wants the ban to start in January 2023, because she understands that restaurants and vendors need time to prepare and use up their remaining supplies.

“2022 is coming up really quickly and I thought that’s not a lot of time to prepare, so let’s do 2023 so that way they can’t say oh, we didn’t have enough time, we didn’t know. And also Kyle Tahilig proposed an amendment that would have Guam EPA warn businesses and let them know 6 months beforehand, I believe, and then 3 months, everybody’s informed … we’re all on the same page about this huge change that going to come,” she said.

A similar bill was first introduced in the 34th Guam Legislature but it didn’t pass.

It was also proposed by Representative Kyle Dahilig in the 32nd Youth Congress, but that didn’t make it to the legislature.

The public hearing for Bill 69-36 was originally set for this Friday, April 2, at 2 pm. But the hearing has been postponed to a later date that has yet to be announced.