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California to Ban Wasteful Take-Out Food Packaging at State Parks and Beaches

Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) has introduced legislation to reduce waste generated by take-out food packaging at state parks, beaches, and facilities.  SB 1335 would require that all take-out food containers sold at these public places be recyclable or compostable in the jurisdiction in which it is provided by January 1, 2021.

“There is no reason for the state to continue selling take-out food packaging that clogs our landfills, and pollutes our parks and beaches,” said Allen.  “The solution to wasteful packaging is here, it’s affordable, and the public is ready for it.”

Take-out food packaging in California generates tons of non-recyclable and non-compostable waste every day, much of which finds its way into the natural environment.  Once there, plastic packaging breaks down into impossible-to-clean-up pieces and is ingested by fish and other marine life.  A recent study by UC Davis surveying fish and shellfish sold at local fish markets found that a quarter of fish and a third of shellfish intended for human consumption contained plastic debris.  Stemming the stream of take-out food packaging is a necessary step in beginning to address the global environmental health crisis of plastic pollution and assist California in meeting its goal of diverting 75% of waste from landfills by 2020.

“State parks, beaches, and facilities are the natural place to begin this transition at the state level,” said Kelly McBee, Policy Analyst at Californians Against Waste. “This policy provides an opportunity for the state to lead by example and exemplify the feasibility of sustainable take-out food packaging policies.”

California has the opportunity to take a leadership role on this issue in strong contrast to the regressive policies of the Trump administration, which rescinded an Obama-era policy to reduce the use of disposable water bottles in National Parks.

“Many communities across California have been working to reduce the pollution from single-use take-out food packaging since the 1980s. Recent actions at the national level, our unsustainable reliance of fossil fuels, and the plastic pollution crisis tell us that we can no longer afford to wait on this issue. It’s time for state government to ‘walk the walk’ on sustainability, and show that we don’t have to permanently harm our environment every time we get food to-go,” added Allen.

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