Styrofoam Banned in San Diego

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Styrofoam Banned in San Diego

Bryana Sirisute-Popejoy, Social-Media Manager

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On January 8th, 2019, The San Diego City Council passed a ban on styrofoam. On Tuesday, the council had voted 6-3 in favor of a controversial ban of the use of items that are made from styrofoam. The council had voted approve a law that restricts the use of products that are made from polystyrene and plastic foam, like take-out containers or egg cartons. Not only that, but San Diego is also the largest city in California to have banned it, as other cities and counties like San Francisco and the Los Angeles County had it banned or partially banned. Other places in other states, like Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon had also banned or partially banned the styrofoam.

When the ban happened, some owners of small restaurants had protested and argued that the ban affects smaller businesses who might not be able to afford the costs of more expensive food containers that aren’t made of plastic.

Polystyrene, or styrofoam is a synthetic aromatic hydrocarbon polymer made from the monomer styrene, or basically a type of plastic that’s manufactured from non-renewable fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals. The foam would usually come in two forms, the first being EPS, or Expanded Polystyrene Foam. EPS is the type of foam that would usually be made into items like cups, plates, take-out containers, and packing materials.

EPS Polystyrene

The other form is called solid polystyrene, which is the type that’d be made into items like plastic forks, CD and DVD cases, even some smoke detector housings.

Solid Polystyrene


Removing the styrofoam can possibly help reduce pollution. Animals like turtles and fish seem to mistake the styrofoam for food, and that can pretty much kill them. Not only can they not digest it, but the foam could be full of poisons that it has absorbed from contaminants floating in the water.

The chemical can also release toxic chemicals into one’s food, causing it to be contaminated and hazardous to one’s health. Styrofoam does not biodegrade, meaning that it may break into small pieces and even tinier pieces. But, the smaller that the EPS gets the harder that it’ll be to clean it up.