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By Miriam Gordon, California Director We’ve been fighting to ban foam packaging in California for years. Out report, Taking out the Trash studied the effects of packaging foam on our environment and found what you would expect. Styrofoam food containers and coffee cops clog our waterways and pollute our environment. Foam packaging also leeches a carcinogen into our food. We can do better. Californians and our environment can live without this dirty and dangerous product. SB 568, California’s strongest attempt to date to ban foam has brought us very close to ridding our streets, sewers, and waterways of foam. Despite massive spending and efforts of well-funded chemical and plastics groups, the overwhelming local and public support for this bill resulted in it passing the Senate with bi-partisan support and being voted out of two committees in the Assembly. It is poised to be heard on the Assembly floor next year. SB 568 received support from the Teamsters and the California Federation of Teachers, over 200 California businesses and green business associations, 6 local chambers of commerce, 22 cities, 6 counties, 16 local neighborhood councils, 16 sanitation districts and waste associations, 9 environmental justice groups, 31 environmental and coastal organizations, the California School Nutrition Association, and the Sacramento Unified School District. The battle over this bill is a match-up of David versus Goliath. We fought the mammoth spending of the plastics and chemical groups and moved this bill way further than any of the 3 previous polystyrene ban bills in the California legislature- and we're not done. With increases in the cost of oil driving up the price of polystyrene, and demand for sustainable food packaging increasing by 17% each year already, companies like Dart and Pactiv are already responding by offering lines of sustainable food packaging. That means jobs here in California. Good jobs, green jobs. Are we going to let the manufacturing of the alternatives continue to move to China, or are we going to attract more manufacturers of alternatives to California by making this state the nexus of demand for sustainable packaging? It largely depends on the outcome of SB 568, which won't be determined until the 2012 legislative year. The outcome of SB 568 depends on us – you and me. See you in Sacramento in 2012.