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.
Image Credit: Flickr - EvanHahn