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A Voice for our Ocean

STATEMENTS: Environmental Advocates Celebrate Passage of Illinois Foam Ban

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SPRINGFIELD, IL: Yesterday afternoon, the Illinois House passed HB 2376: EPA-Disposable Food Containers. The legislation would phase out the use of single-use plastic polystyrene foam food ware in Illinois by January 2024.

In reaction to the vote, Ocean Conservancy, the Illinois Environmental Council, Alliance for the Great Lake, and Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) issued the following statements:

“A ban on foam foodware in Illinois is great news for Lake Michigan and the communities that depend on it,” said Dr. Anja Brandon, associate director of U.S. plastics policy at Ocean Conservancy.

“Expanded polystyrene, or foam, food containers are among the most common items polluting our beaches and waterways here in Illinois and around the world. Across the state, volunteers with our partner The Alliance for the Great Lakes have collected nearly 16,000 foam takeaway containers as part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). In the last ten years alone, ICC volunteers have collected over 57,000 tiny foam pieces from Illinois’ beaches and waterways. Globally, ICC volunteers have collected nearly 8 million foam takeout containers, plates and cups since 1986.

“Not only does a ban on foam mean less plastic polluting our communities and our waters, but it also means more effective recycling. Foam cannot be recycled, but it all too frequently winds up in recycling systems, where it can clog up machinery and contaminate the waste stream. The simplest solution for the health of our recycling system and our waterways is to do away with the material entirely. We’re pleased to see Illinois take this step and look forward to quick action in the Senate this spring.”


“Today’s vote is a huge step forward in our General Assembly acknowledging that we cannot recycle our way out of the plastic pollution crisis,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. “We’ve been building support for upstream policy solutions like this one for decades, and we’re now closer than ever to seeing Illinois become a leader in tackling the worst of the worst when it comes to toxic plastic pollution in our state.”


“We applaud the Illinois House for voting today to phase out the use of single-use plastic. Lake Michigan is one of Illinois’ greatest assets. But plastic pollution is a major threat to Lake Michigan and to the people and wildlife that depend on it. To truly tackle the plastic pollution problem, we must move upstream and prevent pollution at the source. Today’s vote is a step in the right direction,” said Andrea Densham, Senior Strategic Advisor, Alliance for the Great Lakes.


“Some plastic just doesn’t belong in 2023, especially single-use plastics like foam take-out cups and containers,” said Abe Scar, director of Illinois PIRG. “The Coalition for Plastic Reduction thanks Rep. Gong-Gershowitz for her leadership on this bill and calls on the Senate to pass this important legislation.”



Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram


Since 1975, the Illinois Environmental Council (IEC) has worked to safeguard Illinois—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends by building power for people and the environment. Representing over 100 environmental organizations in the state, IEC carries out its mission to advance public policies that create healthy environments across Illinois through education, advocacy and movement building.


The Alliance for the Great Lakes is a nonpartisan nonprofit working across the region to protect our most precious resource: the fresh, clean, and natural waters of the Great Lakes. For more information, visit


The Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is a state-based, citizen-funded advocacy group that promotes the public interest. Learn more at

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Madeline Black




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