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The Corydon

The Corydon

The Student News Site of Millikan High

The Corydon

Six Year Old Styrofoam Ban Being Enforced Soon in Long Beach

Saige Tolentino
Photo of multiple Styrofoam containers.

Long Beach City Council has decided to start cracking down on the use of Styrofoam, despite the fact that a law banning it was passed all the way back in 2018. Styrofoam has been a common material for temporarily holding foods or drinks for a long time because of its ability to insulate and keep out moisture. However, businesses will have to find an alternative material for their take-out, starting in June, 2024.

“City officials said they have focused efforts over the past six years on educating businesses, but come this June [they] will begin investigating complaints and issuing fines,” says an article in the Long Beach Post on Apr. 10. “If a violation is confirmed, the Public Works Department will issue a 30-day correction notification to the business.”

“[Styrofoam] is affecting the environment a lot,” says Lily Palmer, QUEST senior and a member of Millikan’s Environment Club. “I would say it’s a similar level to plastic. I know that the manufacturer of styrofoam is really harmful to the environment, and it really damages the ozone layer.”

“Over 5 billion pounds of Styrofoam ends up in our landfills and waterways each year,” according to Heal the Planet, an environmental group based in Florida. That amount will just keep piling up because it is estimated that Styrofoam takes around 500 years to decompose, if it decomposes at all. 

“I am surprised by the sheer number, but I’m not surprised by how much we use Styrofoam because I can’t think of any other material that has the same insulating properties, it’s very versatile,” says Palmer. “I see why we use it so much, but I’m surprised that there isn’t another solution that we’ve come up with so far.”

The city is encouraging businesses to use materials that are easily recycled, like paper boxes or wooden utensils.

To further help our planet, not only does this ban include Styrofoam and polystyrene (the plastic material the brand Styrofoam is made of) items, but it also prohibits businesses from giving out straws and plastic utensils unless requested by customers.

Photo of Styrofoam in a dumpster. (Antonio Salaben)

Palmer thinks that students can help combat this issue by using reusable containers and water bottles. “Even ordering less food at restaurants so you don’t have to use takeout boxes.”

The enforcement of this Styrofoam ban will help keep our cities clean as well as the entire planet, starting this June. Students can help out beforehand by paying attention to the products they use and making sure that recyclables and being put in the recycling, not the trash.

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Audrey Lozano
Audrey Lozano, Staff Reporter
Hi, my name is Audrey Lozano (She/Her) and I´m a freshman in the QUEST program. I´m a staff reporter and this is my first year taking a journalism class. In the future, I hope to become an author and publish my own book.

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  • M

    Mazen MendozaMay 21, 2024 at 1:53 pm

    On May 6, 2024, Audrey Lozano wrote the article “Six Year Old Styrofoam Ban Being Enforced Soon in Long Beach”. The piece explores how the city of Long Beach is deciding to just now crack down on a ban on styrofoam plastic goods in accordance with an ordinance passed all the way back in 2018. Beginning in June, 2024, businesses will have to start using alternative materials for their to go packaging other than styrofoam, a substance used widely because of it’s light construction and phenomenal insulating properties. The last few years have been spent by the city educating businesses and attempting to sway them away from using disposable plastics. Now, the law will be used to punish businesses who refuse to conform with the policy. The Public Health Department will begin issuing 30 day warnings to businesses who have been the recipients of complaints before official actions will be taken. Lozano highlights the environmental impact that styrofoam has on our world, recounting facts such as the 500 year long life span of these plastics, along with the staggering figureof 5 billion pounds of styrofoam ending up in landfills and waterways each year. Lozano ends the article with a call to action for students to be more mindful of their consumption and the materials that they willingly use and dispose of.

  • A

    Amanda ZorickMay 21, 2024 at 1:26 pm

    I was first drawn to this article because I am an environmentalist who loves to learn more about how our community is combating climate change. I wish there was a background on what Styrofoam is and how it is made because a common misconception about Styrofoam is that it is made out of plastic. I enjoy how there was a student and professional source in the article because it provided different perspectives on this aspect of environmental degradation. I appreciated how there were quantitative facts to provide some insight for the reader on how the production and consistent use of Styrofoam impacts the environment. I also loved that the author put a call to action for the students of Millikan to be aware of what product we are using at the end of the article!

  • E

    Ethan Barnhart-RossMay 20, 2024 at 2:01 pm

    On May 6, 2024 Audrey Lozano wrote an article titled “Six Year Old Styrofoam Ban Being Enforced Soon in Long Beach”. This was a very well written article about a ban on businesses making use of styrofoam. The article does a good job explaining why styrofoam is used so often due to its unique insulating properties making it perfect for uses like take out food. The article also explains that styrofoam is bad for the environment, being theorized to take 500 years to decompose. I also like how the article included a quote from a member of the environment club offering their perspective. One thing I wished the article mentioned was why it took six years from the law being passed to it being enforced. I would have also liked if the article went into other alternatives businesses are going to try to use instead of styrofoam. Overall this was a very well written and informative article.