Congratulations Culver City on making the Earth a healthier place! Polystyrene is a plastic that blows around freely and breaks into tiny pieces easily, making it difficult to clean up. Because of this and many other reasons, Culver City is the latest city in California to have banned Polystyrene! This is an amazing step in the right direction to protect the environment and public health. Did you know that polystyrene makes up just .01% of the litter stream by weight, but 17% of the litter stream by volume? It’s no surprise that 90 cities have implemented a Polystyrene ban. This ban has been widely supported by the city as 75% of Culver City businesses already have a self-imposed Polystyrene ban and no business has ever closed due to the ban. These local ordinances are changing business practices for worldwide companies as it is forcing them to do research and invent new, sustainable alternatives to their products. Due to the problems Polystyrene causes the environment, we are essentially subsidizing restaurants who use Polystyrene because no one is accounting for the clean up costs that the materials recovery facilities are accumulating. An Ohio survey study actually concluded that people are willing to pay more to eat a restaurants that are “green,” and have banned Polystyrene. As the Executive Director of the 5 Gyres Institute Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff says, “We can’t recycle our way out of this. We must reduce” and this ban helps us do that.  Great job Culver City!

Are you interested in getting Polystyrene banned in your city? Check out Grades of Green’s Students in Action Activity to see how students can get involved in the local government and make a difference!