San Diego suffers from Plastic Foam Syndrome. With more than 25,000 pieces of plastic foam littering our beaches each year, Coastkeeper is taking an active stance against the most unsustainable take-out material known to man: plastic foam Our advocacy work in the City of San Diego and Sacramento is supporting policy change to get to the root problems of our litter and marine debris woes in San Diego County. With 48 California cities taking a stand against plastic foam via ordinances, its shocking to note that NONE of those foam-free cities are in San Diego County. Hopefully Coastkeeper’s work can pave the way for us to catch up with the rest of the state, and perhaps reduce cleanup costs at the same time.
On a local level, we have been working with the City of San Diego’s Mayors office and Environmental Services Department to limit internal purchases of and permissions to distribute plastic foam at City permitted events. This will likely come in the format of changes to the requirements of the City’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program (EP3), as well as changes to the permit applications for events through Special Events, Parks & Recreation, the Water Department, and Qualcomm Stadium. Making this move will be a huge step in the direction of sustainability, and help San Diego fulfill its obligations as a Green City of California . Download our Letter to the Mayor’s office and City Councilmembers for more details about our position, and contact me if you want to become more involved in this process.
On a statewide level, we are actively supporting SB 568 , a bill that would ban the distribution of polystyrene foam by all food vendors across California. The bill should hit the Senate Floor around mid-May 2011, and it will be a close vote to get it to the Assembly committees. Senator Kehoe has expressed her support, but we have not had confirmation that Senator Vargas is in favor of reducing litter in this way. We need champions in Vargas’ district (Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, and parts of Riverside/Imperial counties) – from individuals to restaurants to community groups – to speak up to him. You can call his Chula Vista Office ((619) 409-7690) use the contact form on his website, or contact Coastkeeper for draft email/fax/snail mail language or if you want to help organize in this area.
Supporting Coastkeeper’s work on plastic pollution reduction is more important now than ever. Your membership and donations help us put more time to working on these issues and reducing litter throughout San Diego County. Plus you get a cool reusable water bottle to do your part to stop Plastic Foam Syndrome.
 Coastkeeper is no longer using the term StyrofoamTM to refer to single-use take out products such as cups, clamshells, and plates because of this clarification by its maker Dow Chemical. Other groups refer to it as extruded polystyrene or expanded polystyrene (EPS), but Coastkeeper is keeping it simple at plastic foam. No matter what we call it, its bad for our beaches.