San Francisco and The Great Styrofoam Ban

We will soon have to eat and drink our on-the-go meals and beverages out of something else, because those soft Styro cups/containers will be no more.

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It’s being hailed as the nation’s most extensive ban. The San Francisco County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a ban last week on the sale of polystyrene foam, popularly known by the trademarked name Styrofoam. Foam packing, cups and mooring buoys will be prohibited starting Jan. 1, 2017.

Who do we have to thank? Why it’s London Breed and the Board of Supervisors. “I just passed the toughest anti-Styrofoam law in the country and we did it unanimously,” Board of Supervisors President London Breed wrote on her Facebook page after the vote. “This is a huge step for our environment and health. San Francisco is on our way to leading the country on environmental policy—again!”.

Why this is major: Styro versatility and convenience comes at such a high price and our environment and marina mammals are the ones paying. Classified as a persistent marine pollutant, styrofoam takes thousands of years to break down and when it does, it really just becomes little pieces of styrofoam dust. This dust is highly toxic and can be easily transmitted to marine life and travel through the entire food chain.

What about us humans? According to Kate Good of One Green Planet, these containers are made with the compound styrene which is classified as a “possible human carcinogen” and a neurotoxin that poses a serious threat to humans. While this might seem daunting, chronic exposure to styrene can have more severe effects, such as damage to the nervous system, chronic fatigue and has been linked to an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma. Probably didn’t think about that the last time you ordered Seamless…

Posted by: Rebecca White on

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