August 17, 2011

Victory! Salinas Approves Ban on Polystyrene Foam Take-Out Containers


Breaking News August 17, 2011:

Save Our Shores applauds the decision by the Salinas City Council last night to approve a ban on polystyrene foam take-out containers from food vendors. Polystyrene foam, 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.

The ban passed 6-1 among the City Council members. Of the 19 people who spoke in support of the ban were Save Our Shores, Surfrider, Sustainable Salinas, Sustainable Monterey County, community activist Matthew Spiegl, and Carolyn Rudolph, owner of the restaurant Charlie Hong Kong, which has used biodegradable, ocean-friendly take-out containers for years. Old Town Salinas and the Salinas Chamber of Commerce were also in support of the ban that has taken three years to finally pass into law in Salinas.

Salinas, the largest city in Monterey County, was the last major city around Monterey Bay to pass a ban on polystyrene. Salinas follows the lead of Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, and the counties of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo, and others, in passing this ban.

Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue summed up the issue, “This is important to a lot of people in the community and we have postponed this long enough. The national chain restaurants will be just fine. They understand this is going on statewide.”

Save Our Shores has been working with local leaders, businesses, and residents of Salinas for weeks to garner support for the ban. Save Our Shores will continue to advocate for bans on polystyrene take-out containers and will not rest until each jurisdiction and county around the Sanctuary bans this harmful material.

“This shows just how powerful and necessary a grassroots movement can,” says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores. “Salinas did exactly what we said it could do - make a statement that Salinas is a leader.”

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.

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