Ban Styrofoam Food Containers in California

Target: Jerry Brown, Governor of California

Goal: Ban the use of expanded polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) food products in California.

California may have just passed on a prime opportunity to lead the country and show the world that a government can dedicate itself to the protection of the environment (and the people who depend on it) and still work toward maintaining a thriving economy. Senator Alan Lowenthal’s Senate Bill 568 (SB-568) is an oath to California’s environment that, if passed, would effectively ban the use of expanded polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) for food ware in the state.

By eliminating the use of these harmful food storage containers, Californians can also help to eliminate a vast amount of pollution from their highways, streams, oceans and coastlines. Cosponsored by both Clean Water Action and the Surfrider Foundation, SB-568 passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, the Assembly on Natural Resources, and the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. Unfortunately however, on the last day of the session the Assembly Floor failed to pass the legislation.

No matter: despite the lack of support from state legislators, 60 cities and counties in California have already taken matters into their own hands and formulated individual bans on the use of Styrofoam—and with good reason. According to notable French explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, “If Styrofoam is banned—if Styrofoam is not available to litter and end up in our landfills—we are all better off…In other words, in our efforts to preserve and protect our planet, let’s use all realistic and obvious capabilities. Banning Styrofoam is one of those capabilities.”

What it comes down to is this: California is better off without expanded polystyrene foam. With government backing, the transition away from this harmful material to a more environmentally-friendly alternative will be much smoother. And as big a state as California is, the change could be enough to spark positive change on the larger scale. California may have just passed on a great opportunity, but with Governor Jerry Brown’s backing it has another chance at approval.


Dear Governor Brown,

The fight to ban expanded polystyrene foam products in California is not over—but it has hit an obstacle. After being passed by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, the Assembly on Natural Resources, and the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, SB-568 failed to pass the Assembly Floor on the last day of the session. SB-568, if passed, has the potential to eliminate the use of styrofoam food storage products within the state; not only would this have an important and meaningful impact on the environment, it would be a benchmark for similar actions across the country and around the world.

Because SB-568 failed to pass on the Assembly Floor, it comes down to you who can have the final say. With your backing, SB-568 may still be passed and California’s environment and residents will all certainly benefit. As Governor of California, you are in the perfect position to see to it that this legislation makes its way into a state law. I ask that you take this into account and approve SB-568.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Incident News

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