California Moves to Ban Styrofoam Cups

Styrofoam is one of the crappiest, most environmentally unfriendly materials out there. It doesn’t biodegrade for decades, it’s mistaken for food by wildlife, and it’s utterly pointless. In the modern era, in which we’re well-attuned to the massive resource shortages, the stupidity of single-use products made with nasty chemicals, and the ever-brimming landfills, there’s not really much of a case to be made for Styrofoam.

So California is moving to ban it. Its Senate just passed a bill that would make it illegal to sell the stuff: Starting in 2016, restaurants and stores would no longer be able to sell Styrofoam products.

Sacramento news channel KTLA has the story:

The state Senate passed the bill on a 21-15 vote prohibiting vendors from using polystyrene containers. The ban would apply to restaurants and grocery stores and become effective July 1, 2016. Schools would have to comply by July 1, 2017.

Environmentalists say banning the containers would help reduce waste issues, taking decades to break down … Styrofoam is often mistaken for food or prey by seabirds, marine mammals, fish, and sea turtles. Over 50 cities in California have already enacted their own ban on polystyrene.

This makes California the first state to move towards enacting such a ban. Let’s hope that more are forthcoming, and that this archaic material is on its way out …

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Photo: Complexify via Flickr/CC BY

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant is a founding editor of the Utopianist.. When he's not helming the Utopianist, he is TreeHugger's politics writer, contributes the Getting Samy Out of Burma column to, and freelances for the likes of Salon and Paste. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

53 thoughts on “California Moves to Ban Styrofoam Cups


    The bill hasn’t passed yet it still has to be approved by the House and the Governor. Even then, it would start in 2014, not 2016. Moron!

  2. I have been installing ceiling fans for years. I have yet to find the ceiling fans packaged in anyting but styro foam. Does the ban included product packing. I doubt if the Chicoms will start packaging the ceiling fans in anything else.

  3. If they plan to start implementing this law on 2016, it would also be better now to think of ways to address the issue of landfills and garbage disposal problems. That way, the issue on recycling Styrofoam products will be properly addressed.

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