Arcadia City Council Considers Banning Styrofoam Takeout Containers


Sohana Sahni, Staff Writer

The Arcadia City Council is considering banning polystyrene, also known as styrofoam, in the use of takeout. In addition, they are considering making to-go utensils request-only. 

Councilman Tom Beck, who proposed the plan shared that the ban was suggested as a way to help the environment as well as local restaurants. “We’re here to help our restaurants, and we’re here to help our environment,” he shared.

Environmental concerns are a large part in the ban for styrofoam. Polystyrene is petroleum-based plastic, the production of which contributes to climate change and causes heavy pollution. In addition, styrofoam is not biodegradable and appears to last forever. As it can also float, styrofoam makes up a large portion of marine pollution. 

An article by found that “in a survey of Hiroshima Bay, Japan—where oysters are farmed—99.5% of marine litter was foamed polystyrene fragments.”

In addition to environmental concerns, the use of styrofoam also poses health risks to the general public. 

In an article by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, it is proven that styrene, a main component in polystyrene, has been “linked to cancer, vision and hearing loss, impaired memory and concentration, and nervous system effects”. 

In the presence of hot foods and liquids, styrene can leach out of the foam and possibly cause negative effects on the consumer. 

Surrounding cities, such as Pasadena, South Pasadena, and Alhambra have already enacted these laws while other nearby cities, like Long Beach, are currently considering it. 

“This is nothing revolutionary or cutting edge; it’s happening all over,” said Councilman Beck. Los Angeles County and city governments have also enacted styrofoam bans in government facilities, just not in restaurants.

To allow restaurants and residents to adjust, the City Council has suggested an adjustment period of one year for restaurants to find polystyrene-free takeout options. Mike Hara, an employee at the local restaurant Taisho has said he’s OK with the styrofoam ban and has found studies in which styrofoam can negatively affect health. 

Many residents share the same concerns about the risks of polystyrene.

“I’m worried about the long-term health effects that come with using styrofoam. Honestly, I just don’t think it’s worth the risk,” says Arcadia High School student junior Kaanan Sahni. 

Other restaurants, like the Cheesecake Factory on South Baldwin Avenue, have already switched to styrofoam free takeaway containers made of paper and recycled plastic. 

As they move forward with the ban, council members will have staff work out the details of the ordinance and present the ban to the City Council for approval. 


Photo courtesy of FORTWORTHTEXAS.GOV