09/24/2021

Statewide Polystyrene Ban Would Bring Unintended Consequences

Supposedly civic-minded prohibitions on consumer conveniences always have unintended consequences. California’s single-use plastic bag ban, for instance, has led to a surge in E. coli infections, created a swarm of thicker plastics bags that are a greater environmental hazard than the outlawed single-use plastic bags, boosted shoplifting, and been the cause of countless broken eggs fumbled by shoppers trying to carry too many groceries in their arms.

The growing prohibitions on polystyrene, known to most by its brand name Styrofoam, will too yield unpleasant unintended consequences. The ban is not yet statewide, but legislative proponents will surely try again in 2019 to outlaw it in all of California after legislation failed in each of the last two years.

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