650 California restaurants urge lawmakers to oppose ban on polystyrene foam packaging

On Tuesday afternoon, 650 California restaurants along with numerous local Chambers of Commerce signed a coalition letter urging lawmakers to oppose Sen. Alan Lowenthal’s proposed bill (SB 568) to ban polystyrene foam containers in the state.

Prohibiting the use of polystyrene take-out packaging would deal a serious financial blow to food vendors throughout California, including Gary Honeycutt, who said the bill would force him to spend thousands on more expensive, less practical containers for his restaurant’s popular breakfast omelets.

In the above Fox News clip, restaurant owner Lorraine Salazar tells a similar story, calling attention to the exemptions Lowenthal grants to government operations, despite placing a heavy burden on California businesses.

Here are some points to keep in mind, as outlined in the alert:

  • Well paying manufacturing jobs at California-based companies that make polystyrene containers could disappear if this bill is passed. As a result, payroll and property taxes would diminish and goods and services provided by suppliers, vendors, and others would decline as well.
  • Restaurants, caterers, delis, and other food providers would likely see their operating costs rise as polystyrene containers are 2-3 times more affordable than replacement products.
  • Businesses that recycle polystyrene into products like picture frames and green building materials like crown molding would also suffer. Why doesn’t the Legislature use realistic means of promoting recycling efforts to reduce litter and disposal rather than set unattainable mandatory recycling rates that would result in a ban of desired, usable material?
  • Banning polystyrene does not reduce litter. The city of San Francisco banned polystyrene containers but according to a 2008 litter audit conducted for the city, paper cup litter increased after the ban was enacted. Bans result in litter substitution, not elimination.

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