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Foam Container Ban in California

Restaurants and other businesses in California will have to stop using polystyrene foam food containers in the next five years under legislation approved by the state Senate.

July 6, 2011

California bans foam food containers

Photo courtesy iStockphoto/Thinkstock

SB 568 bans all polystyrene foam food containers in the next five years.

Restaurants and other businesses in California will have to stop using polystyrene foam food containers in the next five years under legislation approved by the state Senate (SB 568).

Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) says the foam containers are often used for just minutes by fast-food customers but, because they do not decompose quickly, end up lingering for years in landfills, storm drains and ocean waters.

"SB 568 would help protect the environment, create green jobs and save taxpayers millions of dollars in clean-up costs," Lowenthal says.

Most Republican senators who oppose the measure say SB 568 will hurt businesses and drive up prices for consumers if more expensive alternative containers are required. Food vendors in school districts or local governments with styrofoam recycling programs that meet or exceed a 60 percent recycling rate are exempt.

"This one is going to cost money," says Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto). "This bill will limit consumer choice."

The California Restaurant Assn., California Chamber of Commerce and American Chemistry Council also oppose the measure. These opposing groups say the foam is the best material for food packaging because it is inexpensive, lightweight and effective in keeping food warm or cold.

Supporters said the foam containers represent about 15 percent of litter. Nearly 50 cities and other jurisdictions in California have already banned them.

Give us your opinion on Foam Container Ban in California.
Submit Comment »
Good to know
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 4/19/2012 6:50:21 AM
Yes! Ban the dumb things. This is my choice. Now you go out to eat and you have no choice but to take what they give you. I have been a Republican all my life, but I'm pretty fed up with their stupidity and irresponsible behavior. I'm going to register with the Green Party. I don't want to be associated with them ever again.
Eloise, San Jose, CA
Posted: 7/13/2011 7:48:01 PM
great
i, i, CA
Posted: 7/11/2011 11:24:48 PM
Many restaurants already do this, but are the alternatives better? Do they take more to produce? Hope it works!
Molly, Bay City, MI
Posted: 7/11/2011 8:39:59 AM

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