Food container ban in California

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is battling another proposed plastic ban in California this time on food containers.

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) proposed yesterday a ban on polystyrene (the styrofoamy ones) take out containers as well as a statewide fees for plastic bag use as ways to clean out ocean litter.

OPC said full and partial polystyrene food container prohibitions have already been implemented in many California cities such as: Alameda, Aliso Viejo, Berkeley, Calabasas, Capitola, Carmel, Emeryville, Fairfax, Hercules, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Los Angeles, Malibu, Millbrae, Oakland, Pacific Grove, Pittsburg, San Clemente, San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, Scotts Valley and West Hollywood.

“State and local governments spend millions of dollars every year on ocean litter cleanup. Despite an ongoing effort for decades to reduce ocean litter, the proliferation of plastic debris has increased exponentially.” – OPC

The ACC, along with local plastic manufacturers, California businesses and other groups that will be affected by the proposed ban put out a statement today that says polystyrene is already a green product because of its recyclability, and that the ban will further increase in non-renewable energy use, greenhouse gases, and waste generation.

Most of all, the ban will result in significant job loss, according to the groups.

“Our workers have green jobs because they are recycling polystyrene containers. In many cases, these products are better for the environment than alternatives,” said Larry Eisenhauer, Dart Container Corporation plant manager, whose company makes polystyrene food containers and employs approximately 700 workers in its Corona and Lodi facilities.

“We encourage the Governor to work collaboratively with the industry and public agencies in identifying real recycling solutions, which will serve as a catalyst for a new wave of green jobs.”

Come to think of it, I don’t really see a lot of styro food container litter in the streets of New York City. But I do know that discarded styro food containers from NYC residential areas go straight to the garbage bin (I just checked NYC’s Department of Sanitation), which is why it is a surprise to me that polystyrene food containers are recyclable!

If several city and state governments — such as NY — are not requiring polystyrene food containers to be recycled then it is no wonder that these materials will eventually find its way into the ocean. Here in the city, food take-outs are essential to the economy not to mention essential to people like me who doesn’t like to cook and hates ready-to-eat frozen meal in a…surprise, surprise… plastic container.

If these materials will be banned, how the heck am I going to eat??

One Response to Food container ban in California

  1. M. Young 28 September, 2009 at 1:06 am #

    Then where to find the most lower cost of environmental friend of biodegradable food containers? I found one to share:

    You can find corn starch based food containers, molded fiber based food containers including made of wheat straw and sugarcane.

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