On Monday October 19th the Ventura City Council unanimously voted to ban expanded polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) food containers at restaurants and retail stores citywide starting in July 2021. The ordinance needs a second procedural vote on November 9th to be officially on the books.

Expanded polystyrene is troublesome because these single use products, in the form of cups or takeaway containers, all too often end up as litter due to the ease with which they break apart. Once broken, the real damage begins: tiny, toxic foam bubbles slip into our streams, sand, and ultimately the ocean where they will stay…forever. Unlike natural products, EPS foam does not biodegrade in our lifetimes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase of EPS foam litter around town and on the beach since the majority of restaurant orders have been for takeaway lately. One of the good things about the proposed ordinance for restaurants is that it only bans EPS foam and leaves all other foodware options available to them. This ordinance also covers the retail sales of expanded polystyrene food containers and foam coolers.

Thank you Ventura City Council for taking this important step to reduce plastic pollution. We look forward to seeing more progress on plastic reductions from Ventura and other cities in Ventura County!