May 18, 2011

Half Moon Bay Approves City-Wide Ban on Polystyrene Take-Out Containers


Save Our Shores commends the unanimous decision by the Half Moon Bay City Council to approve a ban on polystyrene take-out containers from food vendors. Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, is a harmful, petroleum-based plastic material that is not biodegradable, is ingested by marine species, and is constantly found polluting the waterways surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Today we applaud this decision as another local victory in the fight against plastic pollution and will continue to advocate for bans on polystyrene take-out containers and single-use plastic bags in each jurisdiction and county around the Sanctuary.

"Save Our Shores is thrilled with the leadership the Half Moon Bay City Council has taken with passing this ordinance," says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores. "By eliminating use of harmful products such as polystyrene food containers, we will surely improve the health of our marine environment."

The Half Moon Bay ordinance will take effect on August 1, 2011, and requires all take-out food containers be made of compostable and/or biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable materials. It is the same ordinance adopted by the County of San Mateo to take effect on July 1, 2011, after the County agreed to enforce the ban during restaurant inspections if cities within San Mateo County were to adopt the very same ordinance.

The City of Half Moon Bay now joins the ranks of other cities and counties around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary who have passed polystyrene bans including South San Francisco, San Bruno, Pacifica, Millbrae, Burlingame, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Watsonville, Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, and others.

Alternatives to polystyrene take-out containers are readily available to restaurant owners, and no requests for exemptions have been reported in Santa Cruz thus far. Restaurant owners have found the transition easy, well received by their customers, and often times more cost effective.

Just like single-use plastic bags, banning polystyrene take-out containers helps create an economic support system for a flourishing coastal economy while providing protections for our fisheries, marine animals, and environment from the ever growing problem of plastic pollution in our ocean. Contact savourshores.org for more information.

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