Senate Passes Styrofoam Container Ban in California

The California State Senate made history yet again when it voted to ban the use of styrofoam take-out containers last week.

SB 568, authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), would prohibit food vendors and restaurants from dispensing prepared foods to customers in polystyrene foam beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

Research has found that remnants of styrofoam containers are the second-most common type of beach debris and account for 15 percent of all storm drain litter in California (LA Times).

Prior to the passage of the bill, 50 California jurisdictions banned plastic-foam food packaging of their own accord, including Huntington Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu and Ventura County.

“I introduced this bill not just to solve an environmental problem that plagues our state but also because it’s a job booster for California,” Lowenthal said. He added that many California companies are making alternatives to polystyrene takeout packaging, including compostable materials, aluminum foil and paper.

Eliminating styrofoam waste will also make it easier for shore-front municipalities to reduce discharges of trash to waterways. Due to its lightweight the material breaks down into beads and can be carried long distances on winds and ocean currents, wreaking havoc on wildlife (from Inhabitat).

The ban (SB 568), passed with a bipartisan vote and will reach the full house by late August. 

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Image Credit: Flickr - EvanHahn

69 comments

Marilyn J L.
Marilyn J L5 years ago

California once again leads the way.

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago

Awesome, but why do we have to wait until 2014?!

Aleksandra Lipka-kadaj

happy i live here

Myraida Diaz
Myraida D5 years ago

Californians!
ask for the other containers now! Give a huge push to those manufacturers This will make easier the propagation of idea to the whole country and out! - We need it now!!!

Linda Jarsky
Linda J5 years ago

Here's hoping Michigan follows California in this soon.

Madhumathy S.

Thanks for taking care of our environment.

Angela R.
Angela R5 years ago

If you live in California, please send a thank you to your congress members - they need positive reinforcement just as much as the rest of us. Actually, more than a 4 year old.

Zee Kallah
.5 years ago

Carry your own container or pay minimum extra charge for dishwashing. If to go - carry your own container.

megan m.
megan m5 years ago

I hope businesses don't wait until the deadline to start making their transition away from styrofoam. The sooner the better!

Brenda Towers
Brenda T5 years ago

Great news! Thanks.