Press Conference Link: https://www.facebook.com/benallencalifornia/videos/10154624832278581/
Los Angeles, CA – Senator Allen (D – Santa Monica) was joined today by Los Angeles City Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Paul Koretz at UCLA in support of SB 705, the Ocean Pollution Reduction Act. Environmental and social justice advocates who urged the legislature to pass SB 705 at the press conference included: Nancy Shrodes, Education and Outreach Manager, Heal the Bay; Aura Vasquez, Climate Justice Director, The Center for Popular Democracy; Anna Cummins, Co-Founder/Global Strategy Director, The 5 Gyres Institute; and Bonny Bentzin, Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, UCLA.
SB 705 will prohibit food providers from dispensing takeout food in disposable, polystyrene food containers by January 1, 2020. The legislation is modeled after the city of Santa Monica’s successful ban on the use of non-recyclable plastic disposable food service containers, which took effect in 2008.
Polystyrene, commonly known as “Styrofoam,” doesn’t decompose, but rather breaks into smaller and smaller pieces that end up in oceans and waterways, harming wildlife and leaching toxins into water. Styrene, a neurotoxin and cancer-causing chemical, migrates from foam containers into food and beverages, increasing health risks for consumers.
The Ocean Protection Council estimates that the current cost of cleaning up marine debris annually may exceed $1 billion. Nonrecycled single-use food packaging costs California families hundreds of dollars annually in hidden litter clean-up costs. Local governments are also hard hit by these costs.
More than 100 cities and counties in California, including Santa Monica, Culver City, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, West Hollywood and San Francisco have taken a stand against polystyrene pollution by enacting local ordinances that limit its use in some way.
“We’ve reached the point where consumers and cities understand the risks and harm of polystyrene and want to shift to more sustainable and healthy alternatives,” said Senator Allen. “This statewide ban on the use of polystyrene for takeout food containers will significantly reduce the amount of waste littering our ocean and it will protect wildlife, the public health and future generations from harm.”
“This is an issue that needs both local and statewide leadership. Over the last 10 years, volunteers have picked up nearly 500,000 foam items during Heal the Bay’s beach clean ups. We call on California to continue its legacy of environmental leadership and free the state of costly and environmentally destructive foam pollution by passing SB 705,” said Nancy Shrodes of Heal the Bay.
SB 705 is supported by the Californians Against Waste, California League of Conservation Voters, Heal the Bay, Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club California and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. The measure passed the State Senate Environmental Quality Committee and will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, May 25.
From left to right: Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, Senator Ben Allen, and Councilmember Paul Koretz
# # #
California State Senator Ben Allen represents the 26th Senate District, which consists of the Westside, Hollywood and coastal South Bay communities of Los Angeles County.