California: Ban Toxic Styrofoam Packaging

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Target: California State Assembly

Goal: Ban Styrofoam food containers

In 2011, almost 20% of waste gathered in California highway cleanup efforts was polystyrene, otherwise known as Styrofoam. Despite millions of dollars funneled into cleanup efforts every year, this substance continues to devastate California’s once vibrant ecosystem. A bill soon to be voted on in California’s State Assembly would ban foam food ware across the state and encourage green industry growth for alternative and sustainable packaging solutions.

Foam ware containers take a heavy toll on environmental well-being and human health. Styrofoam is produced using known carcinogens, which seep into our food and drinks. Countless species of birds, fish, and others mistake foam pieces for food, ingesting this toxic material and subsequently polluting the entire food chain. This horrific trend was sadly confirmed in a recent study in which almost 40% of sampled fish had ingested foam.

For a state with an ever deepening budget deficit, banning Styrofoam packing products has strong economic incentive. Firstly, California generates $46 billion from its tourism industry and with beaches, rivers and roads inundated with mounting piles of foam pieces, tourists won’t be coming back any time soon. Furthermore, Caltrans spends $60 million every year cleaning up litter and other debris on California’s roads. Banning foam ware products would greatly reduce these annual cleanup expenses.

Since job creation and job loss is the holy grail of all current legislative discourse, critics of the bill offered vacuous job-related consequences should the bill pass. Many declared there would be a loss of a vast number of jobs in foam ware packing factories. First of all, passage of the bill does not mean these factories are vacant the very next week. Under this bill, phasing out of foam ware won’t be complete until 2016. This is ample time for companies to invest in alternative packing solutions. In addition, banning foam will create new jobs, new companies, and new markets; a broader green industry ripe with jobs.

Should the bill pass and be signed into law, California would become the first state in the nation to implement a statewide ban on Styrofoam food ware. More than 60 cities and counties in California haven’t waited for state legislation, passing their own ordinances banning foam usage. The people of California understand what’s at stake, now it’s time for their representatives to do the same. Sign this petition and demand that California’s State Assembly ban foam food ware.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear California State Assembly,

I am writing to express my fervent support of Senate Bill 568. Introduced by Senator Alan Lowenthal, this bill would phase out the use of expanded polystyrene foam to-go food ware by 2016. The harmful environmental, economic and health impacts of Styrofoam food packaging must end and this is your opportunity to make that a reality.

California spends millions of dollars every year cleaning up its beaches and roads. Banning foam food ware would decrease these expenses substantially. In addition, polystyrene embeds itself throughout the ecosystem, disrupting food cycles and destroying natural habitats. Monetary and environmental impacts aside, human beings suffer from Styrofoam packing use as well. Materials used in making these products are federally recognized carcinogens, which leak into our food and beverages.

Approval of this bill would stimulate economic growth, especially for alternative and sustainable industry solutions. California will be reprieved of much of the economic burden needed to clean up its precious environments. The health of your very constituents also lies in the balance. Over sixty cities and counties have already recognized the devastating consequences and benefited from the Styrofoam ban. It is now time California’s legislators made these benefits a statewide obligation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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214 Signatures

  • Marianne Oelman
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Julia Amsler
  • Mal Gaff
  • sheila childs
  • jeff hopkins
  • joan walker
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Holly Hall
  • Rebecca Williams
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