House Finally Cans Foam Packaging (Again)

WASHINGTON –- Hill sources tell The Huffington Post that the long national nightmare of polystyrene packaging in the House cafeteria is over.

The Longworth House cafeteria had switched to paper packaging products as of Friday. While the Ford building's cafeteria still had foam products as of Friday, an aide confirmed the change was a management decision and eventually would extend to the other House eateries.

The office of the ranking Democrat on the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Robert Brady (Pa.), confirmed the change to HuffPost. "Ranking Member Brady is very pleased that the House is eliminating polystyrene food and beverage containers for more environmentally responsible options," said Brady spokesman Kyle Anderson. "It's the right thing to do and definitely a step in the right direction."

The use of polystyrene products in the House cafeteria has been a subject of some controversy. While Democrats switched to compostable products during their control of the House, Republicans switched the cafeteria back to foam containers in 2011. Democrats have protested the move ever since.

Their lobbying gained steam this summer, however, when the District of Columbia voted to phase out polystyrene packaging by January 2016, and when the National Research Council affirmed the listing of styrene, the monomer used to create polystyrene packaging, as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."

The office of the Republican leadership of the Committee on House Administration did not respond to a request for comment. Democrats, however, celebrated a minor victory.

"Sadly, this may be the biggest environmental victory in the House of Representatives this entire year," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). "I hope this is something we can build on to position Congress as a less wasteful, healthier place to work at and for people to visit.”



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