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Styrofoam Takeout Containers Need to Go
Aug 12, 2011
By Beth Gunston
Living in the Bay Area can be like living in a bubble – it may be a glass or a biodegradable bubble, but I can rest assured that it is not Styrofoam. That’s because many cities in my area have taken the initiative to ban polystyrene takeout containers.
Unfortunately, when I travel outside my community, I’m reminded that Styrofoam, or polystyrene foam, is still commonly used. What’s worse is that this reminder often comes in the form of visual cues along the sides of highways, in gutters, and on beaches. That’s right – I’m talking about the high volume of Styrofoam litter.
This is a no-brainer. Many companies shipping packages have ditched Styrofoam peanuts for more sustainable alternatives that do the job just as well. Now it’s time for the restaurant industry to make the switch.
The reasons to abandon Styrofoam are numerous. Here are just a few that I dug up:
- As recently as last year, production of polystyrene in Los Angeles violated Federal and State Clean Air Acts, with the largest impacts on minority and low-income households.
- Manufacturing polystyrene creates the 5th largest volume of hazardous waste. According to the Surfrider Foundation, Californians alone throw away 300,000 tons of Styrofoam annually – quite a sum for a product that is known for being super lightweight.
- Styrofoam is the second most abundant form of litter on our beaches, including those in Orange County. Clean up of such debris is costing taxpayers and local municipalities millions of dollars every year.
- Among the numerous supporters of SB 568 is the Green Chamber of Commerce who recognizes the job growth opportunities for California companies that are manufacturing alternatives to polystyrene.
- When Styrofoam is heated or comes in contact with fatty or acidic foods, it releases styrene which is a carcinogen and a neurotoxin.
Learn more about SB 568 – the Styrofoam takeout ban – and contact your representative in support of SB 568.
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