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Ban polystyrene on city property

  • April 20, 2021 – Boynton Beach
    On April 20th, the Boynton Beach City Commission voted unanimously to pass a polystyrene ordinance prohibiting the use and distribution of polystyrene foam, balloons and confetti, on all city property! 
  • January 14, 2021 – Palm Beach Gardens
    On January 14, Palm Beach Gardens passed a resolution prohibiting the use of polystyrene products on public property. It also directs City Administration to negotiate “No Polystyrene” provisions in applicable City contracts, and encourages all residents and retail businesses within the City to reduce or eliminate the use of polystyrene products.
  • October 6, 2020- Delray Beach
    The city of Delray Beach passed 2 polystyrene resolutions. These resolutions encourage local retail stores, restaurant, and all city businesses to reduce the use of polystyrene products and also encourage city staff to negotiate “no polystyrene clauses” into their contracts with vendors.

The best way to do that is to be their resource for all things polystyrene. We need to have all of the information on what polystyrene is, why it's a problem and suggested solutions for solving that problem. In this case, we are suggesting a ban on polystyrene on all city property.

Polystyrene is a type of plastic manufactured from non-renewable fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals into two main forms:

  1. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, which is typically used for cheap, disposable foodware (cups, plates, ‘clamshells’, etc.) and for packaging to protect goods during shipment.
  2. Solid polystyrene, which is often used for a variety of things including disposable cutlery, plastic models, CD and DVD cases, and smoke detector housings.
  3. Styrofoam (TM). The word styrofoam is often used to describe expanded polystyrene foam products; however, ‘Styrofoam’ is actually a trademarked term owned by The Dow Chemical Company for closed-cell extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam made for thermal insulation and craft applications.
    EPS foam is currently the correct term for any foam takeout ware or other expanded polystyrene foam products not manufactured by Dow.

The vast majority of these products are used in the restaurant industry.

But they don't have to be! We now have alternative products that can be used in place of polystyrene. (Click here and scroll to page 8 to view our Buying Guide) Why would anyone continue to buy the polystyrene products that pollute our environment? Unfortunately, it's fairly simple. Polystyrene products are cheap to manufacture and cheap to buy. However, with more and more reusable/biodegradable/compostable options on the market, this point should no longer be an issue. On top of the negative affects on the environment and wildlife, expanded foam takeout ware also affects human health. *Styrene residues are found in 100% of all samples of human fat tissue from exposure through food and packaging. Styrene has been classified as an anticipated human carcinogen and a neurotoxin.

Sue Wolfe/Flickr
Rely on restaurants to take the initiative.

Bans and legislative action can be avoided altogether when businesses embrace the shared responsibility to reduce disposable items. For example, if customers are eating/drinking in a restaurant, offer them plates, glasses and mugs that are washed rather than thrown away. If customers order out, offer them incentives for reusable mugs, bags, etc. if possible. Several Surfrider Foundation chapters have an Ocean Friendly Restaurants program to incentivize elimination of EPS foam foodware because it is a top item found at beach cleanups.Enact local, regional or statewide bans on polystyrene.

Most of the current local ordinances banned EPS foam foodware, while a few also banned solid polystyrene foodware. On July 1, 2015 New York City became the largest city in the country to ban EPS foam. As of that date, food service establishments, stores and manufacturers may not possess, sell, or offer for use single service Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam articles or polystyrene loose fill packaging, such as “packing peanuts” in New York City.

This is our goal for Palm Beach County.

We need your voices to be heard! A first, easy step to take is sending an email to your local elected officials. Below you will find talking points, sample subject lines and the email addresses for your respective city government officials.

*When speaking to an elected official or their staff, remember to always be respectful of them and their time, stay on topic, do not attack or threaten in any way (We are here to inform and act as their eyes in the community.), and only speak from your personal experiences.*

"Good [morning, afternoon, evening],

My name is [insert your name here] and I live at [insert your address here]. I am requesting the council consider a polystyrene ordinance on all city property. [Here is where you explain your perspective on polystyrene and plastic pollution in your city and along your beaches, and why you want to see a ban on these products in your city. Feel fee to attach photos/videos that you've taken, too.] 

Thank you,

[Your name and contact info]Although these talking points will help you craft your emails, they should not be the only words you send. Decision makers don’t want to hear the same points over and over. A variety of perspectives is key to getting our issue front and center.

  • EPS foam litter is a global and local issue. (Possibly talk about some of the global issues, such as the ocean turning into a plastic soup, but be sure to bring it back to why action is needed locally.)
  • EPS foam does not biodegrade in our lifetimes and can impact wildlife when littered – in addition to being an eyesore, costing taxpayer dollars to pick up and disproportionally filling up landfills.
  • EPS foam is typically made from non-renewable fossil fuels and synthetic chemicals that may leach out over time, especially if in contact with hot, greasy or acidic food.
  • Although inexpensive to buy, EPS can be expensive to clean up. Since they are so inexpensive, polystyrene products are often thrown away or littered after a single use. Many municipalities that have to comply with storm water regulations limiting trash in waterways have already spent substantial taxpayer dollars trying to control, capture, and remove trash, including EPS.
  • EPS recycling is often not economical, so most of it gets landfilled or littered. Very few communities have access to polystyrene recycling. This form of plastic pollution should be addressed at the source instead of relying on more trashcans and ‘end of the pipe’ solutions of capturing and removing litter.
  • There is concern regarding human health impacts. Research published in 2014 describes how polystyrene debris polluting Hawaii's beaches breaks down into the monomer styrene, a suspected human carcinogen.

Your subject line of your email is another place you want to be sure to use unique wording. Most of the group emails or petitions that are sent with the exact same subject line are marked as spam and moved out of the decision maker's inbox. Yes, 1 or 2 emojis are ok to use.

  • Our oceans are turning into plastic soup. We must act now!
  • Keep plastic pollution out of our environment.
  • Ban polystyrene products from all city property.
  • Please be a leader in keeping our oceans plastic-free.
  • Protect our natural areas from polystyrene pollution.
  • Be an ocean champion and ban polystyrene.

Click to download.

Michael La Coursiere, Mayor and Group 4 Councilor

Allan Kaulbach, Vice Mayor and Group 3 Councilor

Keller Lanahan, Group 1 Councilor

Guy Motzer, Group 2 Councilor

Peter Shapiro, Group 5 Councilor
pshapiro@atlantisfl.govMayor Steve B. Wilson

Vice Mayor Mary Ross Wilkerson

Treasurer Michael C. Martin

Commissioner Johnny Burroughs, Jr.

Commissioner Larry Underwood
lunderwood@belleglade-fl.comMonica Mayotte

Andrea Levine O'Rourke

Jeremy Rodgers

Andy Thomson
AThomson@ci.boca-raton.fl.usMayor Steven B. Grant, At-Large
Email: | phone: (561) 742-6010 | Cell: (561) 376-1537

Vice Mayor Ty Penserga, District IV
Email: | phone: (561) 742-6010 | Cell: (561) 350-9232

Commissioner Justin Katz, District I
Email: | phone: (561) 742-6010 | Cell: (561) 827-0407

Commissioner Woodrow L. Hay, District II
Email: | phone: (561) 742-6010 | Cell: (561) 702-2107

Commissioner Christina Romelus, District III
Email: | phone: (561) 742-6010 | Cell: (561) 436-2826The Briny Breezes website only has a phone number listed: 561-276-7405Mayor Shelly Petrolia

Vice-Mayor Ryan Boylston

Deputy Vice-Mayor Shirley Johnson

Commissioner Adam Frankel

Commissioner Juli Casale
Casale@mydelraybeach.comJoel Flores, Mayor

Judith Dugo, Deputy Mayor, District III

John Tharp, Councilmember, District I

Peter A. Noble, Councilmember, District II

Jonathan G. Pearce, Councilmember, District IV

Paula Bousquet, Councilmember District V
pbousquet@greenacresfl.govMayor, Scott Morgan

Vice Mayor, Thomas Stanley

Joan Orthwein

Paul Lyons

Donna S. White
dwhite@gulf-stream.orgJay Foy Mayor

Lawrence Gordon Vice Mayor

Mark Uptegraph Council Member

Dennis Withington Council Member

Ray Caranci Council Member
rcaranci@townofhaverhill-fl.govMayor Douglas Hillman

Vice-Mayor Greg Babij

Commissioner Peggy Gossett-Seidman

Commissioner Evalyn David

Commissioner John Shoemaker
jshoemaker@highlandbeach.usMichael C. Brown Mayor

Richard J. Roney Vice Mayor

Linda Allen Council Member

Bradley R. Doyle Council Member

Robert Leupp Council Member

Christine Nagy Council Member
cnagy@hypoluxo.orgJason Haselkorn, Mayor

Vice Mayor Jim Lyons

Councilmember Peggy Wheeler

Councilmember Stuart Katz
skatz@juno-beach.fl.usTodd Wodraska, Mayor

Councilor Jim Kuretski

Councilor Ilan Kaufer

Councilor Ron Delaney

Councilor Cameron May
cameronm@jupiter.fl.usMayor Michael O'Rourke

Commissioner Erin Flaherty

Vice-Mayor Kimberly Glas-Castro

Commissioner John Linden

Commissioner Roger Michaud /
rmichaud@lakeparkflorida.govPam Triolo, Mayor

Scott Maxwell, Commissioner, District 1

Omari Hardy, Commissioner, District 2

Andy Amoroso, Commissioner, District 3

Herman Robinson, Commissioner, District 4
hrobinson@lakeworthbeachfl.govDavid J.Stewart, Mayor

Karen Lythgoe, Councilmember

Mark Zeitler, Councilmember

Malcolm Balfour, Vice Mayor Pro Tem

Lynn Moorhouse, D.D.S., Vice Mayor
lmoorhouse@lantana.orgPhillis Maniglia, Councilmember, Seat 1

Laura Danowski, Councilmember, Seat 2

Lisa El-Ramey, Mayor, Seat 3

Robert Shorr, Councilmember, Seat 4

Marg Herzog, Vice Mayor, Seat 5
mherzog@loxahatcheegrovesfl.govSusan Bickel Mayor

Mark Mullinix Vice Mayor

David Norris President Pro Tem

Deborah Searcy Councilmember

Darryl Aubrey Councilmember
daubrey@village-npb.orgGail L. Coniglio, Mayor

Margaret Zeidman, Council President

Bobbie Lindsay, Council President Pro-Tem

Julie Araskog, Council Member

Lew Crampton, Council Member

Danielle H. Moore, Council Member
dmoore@townofpalmbeach.comCarl W. Woods, Mayor

Maria G. Marino, Vice Mayor

Rachelle A. Litt, Vice Mayor Pro Tem

Mark T. Marciano, Councilmember

Chelsea S. Reed, Councilmember
creed@pbgfl.comRonnie L Felder

Tradrick McCoy
(District 1)

KaShamba Miller-Anderson
(District 2)

Shirley D. Lanier
(District 3)

Dr. Julia Botel
(District 4)

Douglas Lawson
(District 5)
dlawson@rivierabeach.orgFred Pinto, Mayor

Jeff Hmara, Vice Mayor, Group #1

Selena Samios, Councilwoman, Group #3

Jan Rodusky, Councilwoman, Group #4

Richard Valuntas, Councilman, Group #2
rvaluntas@royalpalmbeach.comKelly Shoaf, District 1 Commissioner

Cory Neering, District 2 Commissioner

Christy Fox, District 3 Commissioner

Joseph Peduzzi, District 4 Commissioner

Christina Lambert, District 5 Commissioner