Banning Polystyrene Won't Help California's Environment — But It Will Hurt Jobs, Economy

October 24, 2018

Polystyrene, often called by its brand name Styrofoam, is used for more than packaging food — it's commonly found in a broad range of consumer products. Despite its usefulness, there's a growing crusade to outlaw it. The California Senate has twice tried to pass bills that would have barred restaurants from using disposable foam containers, most recently through the so-called Ocean Pollution Reduction Act, which failed in January.

Ben Allen, the Santa Monica Democrat who introduced the legislation, said he will try again in 2019 — after he's educated his "colleagues on the damaging impact of Styrofoam on our coastline," he told the Los Angeles Times. He will no doubt fall back on the usual talking points — that 60% to 80% of marine debris is plastic, and 90 percent of floating debris is plastic.

Though widely cited, those claims don't stand up to scrutiny.


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