The City of Watsonville added to the growing number of jurisdictions in Santa Cruz County that have banned the use of polystyrene food packaging products.

PublicCEO reported on this environmental issue in May. Since then, businesses have mostly complied.

“For the most part they have acted very well,” said Lisa Murphy, Assistant to the City Manager in Capitola. “We haven’t had a polystyrene violation in at least six months.”

Murphy said the city relies on the public to inform them if there has been a violation.  The City of Santa Cruz, along with many others in the county, adhere to this same policy.

“Our city is too small to have a code enforcement officer,” said Murphy.

When asked how the City of Capitola has been affected by this ban, Mayor Bob Begun said, “It hasn’t affected it at all. There have been no large complaints.”

Murphy claimed that most businesses have been motivated by public pressure and thus acted responsibly.

The City of Capitola was the first city in Santa Cruz County to ban polystyrene.

Murphy emphasized, although she is proud to be the first, the entire county was working diligently on the issue.

As reported by the Mercury News, Kentucky Fried Chicken has come onto the radar as not complying with the county’s polystyrene ban.  The restaurant has reportedly not entirely switched to paper products.

However, Santa Cruz has stated that they would rather help the food chain make the transition than to fine them for failing to act quickly.

Waste reduction manager of Santa Cruz, Chris Moran, was unavailable for comment when called.

The office for Capitola council member Ron Grave declined to comment.  Vacations prevented Public Works officials in Santa Maria and Watsonville from commenting.

Louis Dettorre can be reached at