Styro-Ban Project

Since November, 2007 the Santa Cruz Chapter has been heavily-involved in advocating for bans on polystyrene (expanded plastic foam or Styrofoam) food take-out containers in restaurants and other food-service businesses around Monterey Bay in California.

Why? Well, because it’s a no-brainer for anyone who cares at all about the health of oceans and wildlife and the rampant trashing of our coastal neighborhoods, beaches, and surf breaks. We tell our contacts: “As the people in and on the water, we see this expanded-foam junk much too frequently and also have directly observed its terrible effect on marine creatures that ingest chunks of polystyrene or become entangled in other plastic discards.”

Polystyrene litter is documented as a notorious threat to wildlife. Like most plastics, it is incredibly durable and almost never degrades like a natural substance or material, so massive amounts of polystyrene trash litters our neighborhoods, beaches, and waters and clogs our waste streams. And the reality is, alternate food packing materials exist and are available, so its time to break the existing buying pattern and move on towards a more sustainable future.

On this project, we’ve worked to promote interest in local ordinances banning use of polysty food take-out containers, and have partnered with like-minded environmental groups to pressure local jurisdictions. To date we’ve been active through public speaking, letter-writing, and emails contacts, and we have directly contacted many elected officials and public agencies. And we’re stoked to report success! Our efforts have helped convince the City of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, Scotts Valley, Watsonville, City of Monterey, Pacific Grove, and City of Carmel to draft and establish such local laws.