Eco-Friendly Food Container Compliance, or Lack Thereof
December 5, 2012
In a an ever more polluted and warming world it’s not only the food people eat and drink that raises concern—and backlash—but the containers they eat and drink from.
The sustainable spotlight frequently finds disposable containers like polystyrene (styrofoam) and plastics.
Recently, a TV commercial produced for Israeli-based, home-carbonated soda company SodaStream was banned in the U.K. for marketing the idea that using their product would keep thousands and thousands of plastic soda bottles out of landfills and, more importantly, out of the world’s oceans every year. The advertisement had no sexual, political or libelous content—it simply showed generic soda bottles vanishing.
UK broadcast officials’ allegedly refused to air the commercial due to the fact it "denigrated other soft drinks,” but in a fortuitous twist of fate there have now been more than a million direct views of the commercial on YouTube.
Global and nationwide campaigns to curb the consumption of single-use containers range from a fifth-graders nationwide Internet campaign against smoothie giant Jamba Juice’s use of polystyrene cups, to the polystyrene ban adopted in Carmel in 2008 that quickly spread throughout the cities of the Monterey Peninsula, Salinas and unincorporated county areas. Those bans were followed by an ordinance against single-use plastic bags in Monterey and Carmel earlier this year.
The ordinances are noble causes, and ahead of the curve as far as the rest of the nation goes, but it was soon clear that enforcing these bans would be the real test as restaurants are largely responsible for policing themselves.
It was because of this lack of oversight the Weekly, who has reported on both the plastic and polystyrene bans extensively over the years, decided to set up a user generated online spreadsheet where the community could hold some of these establishments accountable. After a year of collecting information about the use of polystyrene take-out containers—and editing as restaurants came into compliance—there is a sizeable list of businesses keeping things green, but a large group of styro users remains.
This is where you come in. Visit mcweekly.com/styro and learn more about Monterey County’s move towards sustainability and eco-consciousness and report on your favorite restaurants’ compliance or non-compliance with polystyrene bans.