Styrofoam in San Francisco

Late last month, San Francisco issued the country’s most far-reaching ban on styrofoam, and it got a lot of press.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is among the most liberal governing bodies in the United States and certainly in the Western U.S. more specifically. Passing this ban on styrofoam didn’t really take much courage for San Francisco politically, if you look at the numbers. However, it’s an important policy item that is part of a necessary, action-oriented solution to climate change. Styrofoam’s impact on the earth merits discussion, and San Francisco deserves kudos for bringing it to the forefront of discussion around sustainability in a way that no other city except for Boulder, Colorado has.

Styrofoam is difficult to decompose, and can sit in garbage dumps for hundreds of years before it even starts to decompose. So, if you drink and eat out of a styrofoam cup once a week for a 40-year long career, you could potentially create thousands and thousands of “permanent” pieces of garbage that the earth can’t get rid of. That’s pretty scary.

Many of you reading this might not care as much about the environment, which is fine, but if you can reduce your carbon footprint by not even trying, why wouldn’t you want to make that possible? Fighting in your city for a ban on most styrofoam, or supporting those who are, is one way for you to protect the health of our planet.

San Francisco did it. Why can’t your city?