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Styrofoam Ban

Styrofoam Ban

There is a bit of controversy over California’s eminent ban on Styrofoam (bill “SB 568″ by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) – at least if you’re a certain type of restaurant owner who does a lot of take-out, or a Styrofoam to-go container manufacturer. Anyone else surely sees the benefit in outlawing a product that is toxic to produce, releases the known carcinogen styrene and doesn’t break down or decompose ever, in any way.

My vote is obviously for banning Styrofoam. California often leads the rest of the country in cutting-edge environmental law and has great influence in shifting not only political and public views, but also corporate opinion and policy.

Interestingly enough, this bill doesn’t actually ban or outlaw Styrofoam at all. In fact, if your community recycles 60 percent of its Styrofoam, you’re off the hook. Huh. What exactly does that mean – “community”; “recycled Styrofoam”? I know how to recycle and be green in hundreds of ways, but I haven’t the first idea how to recycle Styrofoam or where to do it.

Having said that, a ban of any measure is better than no ban at all, and in an article on this subject, Scott Cooney used a term that is new to me and one that really resonated for me: “green collar jobs”. By this I take him to mean those jobs formerly in production of all manner of toxic stuff: plastic bags, plastic bottles, Styrofoam, lead-based paints and Polaroid film, to name a few; that are now (as in the case of the Polaroid factory that now manufactures solar panels) literally less physically toxic to the people performing them.

One of the big arguments against California’s Styrofoam ban is that it will cut jobs. But that’s just a nonsensical cover-up for some other agenda. The jobs will just shift from producing non-degradable to-go ware to compostable or recyclable to-go ware. In fact, the green industry has already created thousands of jobs just in the eco-friendly restaurant-ware sector alone.

If even a partial ban, affecting only a part of California’s Styrofoam-using population, pushes us further towards “green collar jobs”; less non-decomposing, petroleum-based trash in our oceans; and more awareness of our very fragile environmental position, I’m all for it.

What about you?

- Jocelyn Broyles

Headline image Vince LaConte

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67 comments

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12:05PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

A step in the right direction.

7:32AM PST on Feb 22, 2012

I heard it was being recycled into surf-boards.

7:49AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Ok so we know now that styrofoam is toxic, but jobs will be lost so lets continue it and we'll reduce the amount produced to shut people up, what kind of logic ? Ban one street and not another ? BAN THE PRODUCT.

5:02PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

YAY .. so hope other cities do .. is so very necessary!!!

4:50PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

Go CA!

9:06AM PST on Nov 6, 2011

thanks

1:48PM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Help us ban Styrofoam and #6 plastic (both polystyrene) to-go containers in Hermosa Beach. Issue goes back to the City Council on 10/25 after being presented by the City's Green Task Force back in May.

Show your support (even if you don't live there) and sign our petition.

http://www.change.org/petitions/hermosa-beach-city-council-ban-styrofoam-take-out-containers

5:44AM PDT on Oct 12, 2011

Thanks for the article.

1:17PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

Ban styrofoam everywhere!

2:55PM PDT on Sep 12, 2011

i hope they can do it. all the packaging that comes with your stuff should be all recycled material.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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