Stop the use of “Styrofoam” containers in San Luis Obispo!

sm no styrofoam

SLO FOAM FREE is a coalition of groups and individuals in San Luis Obispo whose goal is to eliminate the sale and commercial use of styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) food and drink containers in restaurants and grocery stores.

    71 cities and counties in California—large ones like San Francisco and San Jose and smaller ones like Ojai and Malibu—have banned Styrofoam.

    Styrofoam contains dozens of toxic chemicals, some carcinogenic, that can leach into food and drink, especially if hot.

    Styrofoam is not biodegradable, and thus is one of the largest sources of litter filling landfills and costing cities.

    Styrofoam is lightweight and aerodynamic, so it is easily blown into gutters and storm drains even when “properly” disposed of. It is also very brittle, so when littered it quickly breaks into small pieces making cleanup impossible.

    In the environment Styrofoam kills marine and other wildlife because it mimics food but causes starvation or choking if ingested.

    Styrofoam manufacture requires the use of fossil fuels, contributing to climate change.

    No polystyrene food packaging is recycled anywhere in California, and litter clean-up costs billions, and yet is still ineffective. Styrofoam litter must be stopped at its source.


As an Individual

 Patronize restaurants and stores that do not use styrofoam. A growing number of businesses locally, e.g., The Big Sky Cafe, Panera Bread, Chipotle, New Frontiers, and Fresh ‘n Easy, have made the decision to eliminate it for use and takeout.

 Voice your concern to the management of places that do use it, telling them of styrofoam’s multiple problems.

 When possible, bring your own recyclable cups to meetings or coffeehouses.

 Encourage organizations to which you belong to use recyclable paper products or—better yet—washable cups and plates.

As a Business Owner or Manager

 Be one of the first, not the last, to eliminate styrofoam, substituting recyclable material like paper, or, even better, using washable cups and plates.

 Consider the real costs of switching. Substitutes to styrofoam do cost somewhat more, but a growing number of local residents prefer to go to businesses who have done so.

 Costs can be substantially reduced by encouraging customers to bring their own cups, giving them a small discount (e.g., 5 cents) or charging a comparable amount for styrofoam containers.

 Realize that, in the end, it is the right thing to do—in responsibility to our local community.

Initiated in late 2013, SLO Foam Free has been working to gather information and consider possible solutions for the elimination of this harmful substance. We advocate for informed, conscientious choices by consumers and businesses, and for a city-wide, and eventually county- wide ban.

Want to get involved? Contact SLO Foam Free chair Janine Rands, 805-704-0148, or [email protected]