Plastic Pollution
June 07 2011

California Foam Bill Clears First Hurdle

by Bill Hickman

Last Thursday the California State Senate voted 21-15 to approve SB (Senate Bill) 568 which could ban expanded polystyrene from being used by restaurants or food vendors unless communities can adhere to strong recycling requirements.  The bill authored by Senator Alan Lowenthal from Long Beach needed 21 votes to pass and last minute efforts on many fronts made an impact.  This bill will go on to the State Assembly to be voted on this summer and if passed, need to be signed by the governor before becoming law.

What cannot be underscored is the grassroots effect from Surfrider, other groups and individuals that are passionate about the foam issue - thanks for your support!!  Thousands of people sent in an online action alert from Surfrider while thousands of people signed petitions at beach cleanups and community events throughout the state.  Beyond that an untold number of people picked up the phone to call their Senator, one of the most powerful two minutes you can volunteer to help make a difference.

As SB 568 is debated in the California State Assembly we encourage your continued support and to contact your State Assembly member.  The easiest way is through our updated online action alert.  Another HUGE way to help is to drum up support from restaurants and food vendors.  The costs of convential alternatives is compareable to foam while eco-friendlier options will come down as demand increases.  If you know of a California restaurant or food vendor that would like to officially support SB 568 please pass along their contact info or have them email me directly:

Opponents claim this bill is a job killer but the truth is that the two foam makers in Califronia also make the alternatives so it's quite unlikely to cost any jobs.  If anything, this an opportunity to create green jobs as local businesses are looking to expand using local sources such as agriculture waste and renewable starch material.