Plastic Pollution
August 29 2011

YOU can help California make restaurants foam free!

by Bill Hickman

Last week SB 568 advanced through the California State Assembly Appropriations Committee and will be voted on by the full Assembly floor before September 9th!  This is a huge step forward for the bill to eliminate polystyrene foam containers from restaurants statewide.  Surfrider Foundation is a co-sponsor of this bill with Clean Water Action because we see the impact that foam litter has on our waterways, beaches and ocean.  It's a top item picked up at bleach cleanups throughout the state and a major contributor to the North Pacific Garbage Patch which is turning our oceans into a plastic soup.  In addition to our main concerns, styrene, a chemical used in foam manufacturing, was recently added to U.S. health department's list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer or could raise the risk of cancer.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:  #1) The easiest:  If you live within California, call your local State Assemblymember to say 'Please support SB 568 to eliminate foam at restaurants statewide', and include any personal reasons.  If you live outside of California but visit the state, we encourage you to call also because tourism is a huge industry and tourists want to see clean beaches, streets and sidewalks.  Find the zip code of where you visit and enter it here: to find the corresponding State Assemblymember.

#2) The most important:  Help us rally some more business support for SB 568.  If we can show more support from businesses that would be affected that will go a long way.  Foam food containers have been banned in over 40 municipalities statewide without a signle business closing down to our knowledge.  Most of those local ordinances have a hardship cause where a business can apply for an exemption if needed and we're not aware of any business that has applied for that exemption.  Do you know any California restaurant owners or frequent any establishment that might sign on in support?  Ask them to sign this letter of support and email or fax it to the contact info listed on the bottom of the letter.

#3) Help spread the word.  Please post a link to this blog on your social networks and email it to friends/family, we need as much support as possible down this final stretch.  You can follow SB 568 on Facebook at:

SB 568 has been labeled as a 'job-killer' by the opposition and that's simply not true.  Foam production jobs would be lost but the flood of green jobs from companies such as Biosphere Industries would create a positive job impact.  Some people oppose the bill because of their belief that any regulation is bad.  We're not always fans of more regulations, but without them how clean would our water and air be?

Thanks for your continued support, stay strong during this final push and cleaner beaches can be a reality!