Doggie Bags No More - Bill to Ban Polystyrene To Go Containers Heads for State Appropriations Committee

A state committee is considering SB 705 - which is a bill that would phase out polystyrene take out food containers by 2020. 

State Senator Ben Allen (D-Redondo Beach) is proposing a bill that would ban restaurants from packing up a customer's leftovers in polystyrene by 2020. He says the polystyrene is pumped with air to produce styrofoam and is bad for the environment. 

Polystyrene is costly to recycle and is bad for public health according to proponents of the bill. The material does not degrade in the same way organic material does. The polystyrene breaks up into smaller and smaller bits which is then eaten by birds, fish and other sea creatures found in the ocean. 

For those who are against the ban, Allen is pointing to his own home city of Santa Monica as an example for the rest of California to follow.

"My own home community of Santa Monica has very successfully implemented a polystyrene ban, and the world hasn't ended. In fact, the city is booming."

Some restaurant owners and customers say they dislike the alternatives offered because they leak. The state appropriations committee could vote on Thursday to kill, or pass the bill. 

The committee could also edit the bill to include alternative deadlines for smaller shops. Over 100 communities in California have already passed local laws that limit the use of polystyrene to-go containers. Allen's bill seeks to expand those local efforts statewide. 

The bill to ban polystyrene take out containers comes after California voters effectively banned plastic bags statewide in last November's election, affirming a 2014 law passed by the legislature.  

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