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Long Beach Polystyrene Ordinance

05 • 04 • 2018

Long Beach Polystyrene Ordinance

On Friday May 4th 2018, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia signed into law an ordinance that bans various items made from polystyrene plastic citywide!

The Surfrider Foundation Long Beach Chapter has been advocating for a polystyrene ban for more than a decade. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, often mistakingly called Styrofoam, is a top item found at Surfrider beach cleanups. It is challenging to cleanup once littered because it is lightweight and can easily break up into small pieces. Those pieces don’t biodegrade in our lifetime and can pose a threat to wildlife that can mistake it for food.

After more than a year of public discussions within city commissions and the Long Beach City Councl, the ban will include products made of expanded polystyrene, rigid polystyrene (#6) and non-recyclable and non-compostable material prepared for food distribution. Additionally, the ordinance includes a ban on selling EPS foam coolers at retail establishments!

The ordinance will be phased in over 18 months:
* Within three months, the containers will be banned at city facilities and city-permitted events (those holding multi-year permits will have up to one year to comply).
* Within nine months, large food providers—those with seating for 101 or more people—must comply, including franchise restaurants.
* Within 18 months, food providers with 100 or fewer seats must comply. Also, the retail ban on EPS foam coolers takes effect.

Cheers to the Surfrider Foundation Long Beach Chapter, Algalita, Sierra Club Long Beach Area Group and other community groups who fought hard for this important Coastal Victory! In the photo on the left, Surfrider Long Beach volunteer Emiko Innes poses with Mayor Garcia and Councilmember Gonzalez after signing the ordinance into law.