Will Long Beach Be California’s Next "Styrofoam"-Free City?

Just this past Tuesday, the Long Beach City Council voted unanimously to move forward with crafting a ban on the usage of toxic and prolific expanded and rigid polystyrene foam to-go food containers, often known by the trademark name “Styrofoam.”

The ban came, in part, following the release of ocean and coastal plastic pollution data conducted by Algalita Marine Research and Education on a two-mile stretch of the Long Beach coastline. The study revealed a whopping four million pieces of polystyrene litter intermingled with beach sand and coastal habitats.

In the last couple of months alone, the Cities of Milpitas and Avalon have also passed bans in their communities. Just this week, South Lake Tahoe city council voted to move forward with drafting a ban on polystyrene. Earlier this month, the City of Alameda expanded their existing ban on expanded polystyrene food take-out containers to require that all single-use food ware be fiber-based compostable.

Perpetuating the statewide movement, Long Beach is on track to become the one hundred and twelfth jurisdiction to phase-out the use of polystyrene food take-out packaging.

According to the Long Beach Post, this ordinance will likely include a phase-out of polystyrene over time; large restaurants, city-owned entities, and city-sanctioned events will be the first entities that will have to comply. The ordinance is also predicted to include a phase-out of polystyrene ice chests and the use of polystyrene beads in bean bag chairs.

Congratulations to the City of Long Beach and the advocates from Surfrider, Algalita, and others who have fought to achieve a future without unnecessary and toxic materials that, by their design, pollute our environment forever.