This month the city of Hermosa Beach had the opportunity to be the first city in the South Bay to ban expanded polystyrene (eps) food containers, but the City Council decided otherwise. Currently, numerous Californian cities have implemented polystyrene bans or regulations, including the most recent in Calabasas, Watsonville, Seaside, Monterey, San Jose, and a multitude of Bay area cities.
Hermosa Beach City officials cautioned away from a ban, and instead favored an outreach program. According to an article in the Daily Breeze, Councilman Michael DiVirgilio stated:
"Things like bans have given environmentalism a bad name," he added. "We don't want to attack people, we want to find ways to work with them. We should be proud if we can one day say we eliminated Styrofoam without having to ban it."
However, this indefinite time span makes environmentalists worry, especially as polystyrene litter poses serious implications now. In California alone, 377,579 tons of polystyrene are produced a year. Over 40% of that is produced in the form of food service packaging. With little options to recycle polystyrene, and low waste diversion rates at fast food restaurants, polystyrene food packaging is one area that lacks significantly behind other problem products' diversion rates.
Because of this fact, and other underlying problems with polystyrene packaging, CAW is supporting SB 568 (Lowenthal) which would prohibit food vendors from dispensing cooked food in polystyrene foam containers.
To follow SB 568 and see what you can do to support it, click here.