With the ever-increasing movement towards going green, many California cities and organizations have instituted changes to move towards this goal. One such change that has swept to 23 cities – as of a bill that was passed April 27, 2009 – is the ban of polystyrene takeout food packaging.

Palo Alto is the latest city to ban these containers, according to an article by Plastics News. Many coastal cities have joined in this effort to ‘Go Green’ by banning this material.

The ban does not include straws, utensils or lids.

The city denied an attempt by a Mason, Mich.-based Dart Container Corporation to purchase a densifier that would recycle both takeout packaging and foam containers used for electronic goods.

In a report by Mike Levy, the director of Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group of the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, Virginia, the refusal to recycle is due to the poor economic market.

Levy implies that there are so few cities that have adhered to this ban that it is not worth the expense to businesses.

“We continue to press our case [for] why [polystyrene] foam packaging is an environmentally responsible choice and continue to point out that it costs 2-3 times less than the alternatives,” Levy said.

Levy also claimed in this same article, “We get a lot of complaints from restaurants that the alternate materials aren’t performing as well as insulated material.”  

There has also been discussion that the ban on polystyrene packaging will reduce the amount of litter in cities and counties. Litter audits in the San Francisco area have proved otherwise.

This brings forth the question from the opposition, what is the real motivation for this ban? Is this an actual attempt to go green, or merely an illusion while a more expensive alternative is pushed towards businesses?   

Two other coastal cities that have joined in this ban include, Santa Cruz and San Francisco (the first), according to Corpwatch.org.