The Camarillo City Council has passed an ordinance that prohibits restaurants from distributing food in Styrofoam beginning Jan 1.The ordinance, passed on July 28, amends existing municipal codes which regulate the use of expanded polystyrene and other foams and plastics as a way to reduce the environmental impact of the non-biodegradable materials. At the beginning of the new year, food providers within the city limits will be prohibited from serving food or beverages in such containers. Food packaged outside of the city will be exempt from the ban.The move comes as Port Hueneme City Council moved to discuss its own expanded Styrofoam ban at their upcoming September meeting. Thousand Oaks, Ventura and Ojai have already passed similar ordinances in an effort to cut down on pollution and the presence of microplastics in the environment.
Expanded polystyrene materials are found in many consumer products, especially as take-out food containers. While the material became popular for its ability to maintain heat, it has been found to have negative impacts on the environment, food chain and individual health.It is estimated that styrofoam can take up 30 percent of the space in some landfills, according to the Society of Environmental Journalists. Once in the landfill, it does not decompose quickly. Some estimates put the lifespan of styrofoam in a landfill around 500 years, while others put it far beyond that. In addition, the styrene monomer from which it is made is suspected of causing cancer and other health problems.The California Senate has, on several occasions, tried to pass bills that would bar restaurants from using disposable foam containers, none of which have passed. Six states, including Colorado, Maryland and New York have passed similar bans.