A bill by State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach would ban restaurants from serving food in polystyrene containers.
The bill, SB 568, passed out of the state senate and has moved to the Assembly. If it were to become law, California would be the only state in the nation to have banned polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, a trademarked term owned by the Dow Chemical Co.
The California Chamber of Commerce has called the bill a job killer, saying it would cost hundreds of manufacturing jobs and would cause prices to rise at deli’s and takeout places.
Environmentalists and Lowenthal argue that the petroleum-based foam doesn’t biodegrade, instead breaking into little balls and clogging the digestive systems of fish and other sea life.
The lightweight, durable product has been a target of environmental groups for years. In 1990, McDonald’s and the Environmental Defense Fund teamed up to eliminate foam containers in the fast food restaurant.
The law would exempt cities with a plan to recycle at least 60 percent of polystyrene foam. The law would take effect in 2016.
Lowenthal represents Downey, Long Beach and about a dozen nearby communities.