Less Froth, More Foam: A Test for California

A political maxim for California: Less rhetorical froth and more recyclable foam. That is, instead of trying to protect the environment by creating a toxic economic environment, instead of barren storefronts and bankrupt towns and cities, we can secure our natural resources without sacrificing our natural rights. I refer, specifically, to the attempt to ban expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), the single-use food containers that are safe, sanitary, and a staple of the foodservice industry.

I care about this issue, as should you, because too many legislators pass too many laws based on the false connection between what they see and what they think they know. They convert a single example into evidence of systemic failure, spotting a white food container as not only an eyesore but an attack against the environment as a whole. They use litter to justify their own brand of political pollution, which increases costs and costs small business owners their livelihoods; which drains the lifeblood of a community by denying it the oxygen of opportunity; which degrades the moral health of our fellow citizens by further dividing rich and poor, while the middle class dissolves into nothingness. Or: Sometimes a food container is more than just a food container.

It is, in fact, a very recyclable product, according to a study from the University of California, San Diego. It is also a mainstay for minority-owned restaurants and food trucks, where profit margins are tight and added expenses are a threat to the survival of these businesses.

To go green at any price is to pay the price of a permanent blackout against those who toil mightily and bleed financially to do the right thing—so they can succeed and California can prosper.

If we deprive them of the materials they need, we will starve California of the money it needs to flourish while Californians endure a long bout of malnourishment.

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