City Hall was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Waste Prevention Award from the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) for its “ground breaking” take-out food container program, city officials announced this week.

Santa Monica’s ban on Polystyrene, in place since Feb. 9, 2007, protects the beaches and bay by prohibiting local restaurants from using non-recyclable food containers, including those made from polystyrene (Styrofoam), because these products end up as one of the main components of beach and marine litter.

Restaurants have responded by switching to recyclable plastic, paper and compostable containers which helps keep waste off the beaches and out of landfills.

“We are excited to receive this award for what has been an incredibly successful program” said Dean Kubani, director of City Hall’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment. “Santa Monica’s restaurants and their patrons have embraced it and it has helped create a market for more environmentally friendly food packaging. And it has now become a model for programs in other cities throughout the country.”

In 1990 California passed Assembly Bill 939, mandating all cities and counties to divert 50 percent of their waste from landfills by 2000. Since then many jurisdictions have adopted zero waste goals.

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