Since November, 2007 the West Coast/North Outpost 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 and elsewhere in  California, and in the past three years we have also advocated for the reduction in single-use plastic carryout bags.

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 plastic bags or 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.

Single-use-and-throw-away plastic bags are also well-documented wildlife killers and are easily blown all around our communities, beaches, and oceans.  They, too, are petroleum products and therefore do not degrade under normal or natural conditions.  It has been speculated that all of the plastic trash now in our world will still be here when all of us are long gone.

On this project, we’ve worked to promote interest in local ordinances banning use of polysty food take-out containers, and have advocated for consumers to always bring their own reuseable shopping bags .SEA has 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, City of Carmel, San Mateo County, and San Francisco County to draft and establish partial Polystyrene bans.

SEA is also active in working to ban plastic single-use bags in Los Angeles County, San Jose, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Monterey, Seaside, Carmel, Watsonville, Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz County, Santa Clara County, Long Beach, Marin County, Malibu, the State of Oregon and the State of California.