As of January 1st, 2014, San Jose restaurants will no longer be giving away polystyrene food containers to customers. This is the first phase of the ban and will only include multi-state restaurant chains, with all other restaurants included on January 1, 2015. Restaurants will now be providing alternative products of their choice but it must be either compostable or recyclable. Read the fact sheet here.
There has been quite a bit of controversy around this ban. Recently, a news story came out in the San Jose Mercury reporting on local restaurant owners who had collected over 38,000 signatures to oppose the ban. However, it turns out that more than half of the signatures were fake or made up. The 45% of legit signers were reported to also have been mislead to think they were signing a petition to ban polystyrene, not overturn the ban already in place. NBC Bay Area also did a full report on the story.
Here at Save Our Shores, we are happy to hear of this ban going into place as we have seen a huge effect it has had on our local beaches and rivers in Monterey and Santa Cruz. Since the bans started taking place in 2008, our data has shown a steady decrease of polystyrene food containers and pieces found on our beaches that will not make it into the ocean to harm marine life. Way to go San Jose!