Andrew Michler

California Senate Votes to Ban Styrofoam Containers

by , 06/06/11

green capitol program, green capitol program over, styrofoam cups, washington dc, washington dc policy, nancy pelosi, green initiatives, ban on styrofoam

California’s state Senate recently voted to phase out the use of styrofoam take-out containers by 2014, marking a crucial hurdle for a bill that would require food outlets to find alternative packaging materials that do not last several thousand years after a single use. Polystyrene is one of the most stable products ever produced — and ironically it has one of the shortest life cycles of any product. Add in its extremely light weight and ubiquitous use, and California has found itself with a major pollution problem. The bill is in the process of going through California’s congress, and if passed it will help eliminate one of the most persistent water pollution problems in the state

green capitol program, green capitol program over, styrofoam cups, washington dc, washington dc policy, nancy pelosi, green initiatives, ban on styrofoamPhotograph © Ruocaled

It’s hard to think of a more love-hate relationship than the one between society and the common styrofoam container. The product works great at keeping warm things warm, cool things cool, and it is extraordinary cheap. It’s ironic however that a product used to keep something as short-lived as a milkshake will last many thousands of years in the environment. Studies show that the material accounts for up to 15% of storm drain litter, and it’s the second most prevalent type of beach debris.

Due to its light weight the material breaks down into beads and can be carried long distances on winds and ocean currents, wreaking havoc on wildlife. The ban falls on the heels of the plastic bag ban introduced last year — and with over 50 municipalities and districts already outlawing Styrofoam, it was only a matter of time before the State followed suit. The good news is that there are many positive alternatives available now, and a huge spike in demand will certainly bring in more alternative products at less cost — many which will be produced in the golden state. The ban (SB 568), passed with a bipartisan vote and will reach the full house by late August.

Via treehugger and LA Times

Lead photograph © waferboard

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1 Comment

  1. lazyreader June 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Once again California is leading the charge in micro-managing your lives. Operating under the assumptions that you are too stupid to make reasonable decisions on your own.

    San Francisco banned calorie containing soft drinks in vending machines. One would assume bottled water is sold but that’s also banned setting an example for those evil companies using all those plastic bottles; another no-no for social engineers.

    Propositions in Santa Clara county to ban McDonald’s famous Happy Meal (or at least the toys) because kids want the toys that come with. Since the county has to pay for the health care of it’s residents. So they go out of their way to ban anything sugary, salty, or greasy.

    Apparently they’re doing this to save public money. Even though California’s broke….that hasn’t stopped them from pissing away cash on the most expensive school in U.S. history. The 578 million dollar Robert F. Kennedy community school complex, a 24 acre monument to government waste that’s literally over 140 thousand dollars per student. They’d be better off crowding in an old school and give over 11,000 students a 50,000 dollar scholarship.

    Sacramento try’s to ban plastic bags. They also try to pass a 25 cent tax on paper bags that the store would keep. Now there are reports by consumer advocates say those reusable bags contain high levels of lead (MADE IN CHINA). Also even with the safe ones, since most people seldom clean the bags, they pose health risks by leaching food residue and liquids that propagate a breeding ground for food borne illnesses. Plastic bags represent less than 1 percent of all waste heading to landfills. And programs already exist to recycle these bags at the very grocery stores they came from. Most consumers re-use the bags anyway to pick up after their pets, lining waste baskets or transporting stuff when their on the go. We don’t need trash police or trash-bag police.

    Let consumers make choices on their own and in the meanwhile California can work towards reducing size of government. Eliminating government intrusions on our personal activities and the wasteful spending. I wish the liberals would get a life. Instead, they spend their time trying to micromanage ours.

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