To-go cups and containers made of expanded polystyrene - otherwise known as Styrofoam - are already banned in all of Monterey County, and in many Central Coast cities such as Carpinteria, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Morro Bay. State lawmakers have tried several times to enact a statewide ban over the past decade, but this week the California Senate rejected a bill that would ban restaurants, food vendors and grocery stores from using Styrofoam containers.
Democratic Senator Ben Allen says the containers often become urban litter that hurts the environment and the economy.
“The more we spend time looking at the damage that this product is doing to our coastline, the impact that that has from everything from tourism to oceanic health, it becomes abundantly clear how important it is to take this modest step,” Allen said.
But Republican Senator John Moorlach says the private sector is already reacting to lawmakers’ concerns by finding alternative containers.
“It’s happening on its own, and it’s fantastic. And I’m just wondering, why a law?” Moorlach said.
The Styrofoam ban failed Tuesday 18-to-16, three votes shy of passage.