CALPIRG Students Wins Campaign to Ban Foam in Los Angeles


Kathryn Gonzalez-Valle, Campus Organizer, CALPIRG Students, [email protected], (310) 480-4353

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council approved several ordinances Tuesday that aim to reduce plastic waste in the city. The ordinances will do the following:

  • Prohibit the sale and distribution of expanded polystyrene products, commonly called StyrofoamTM 
  • Expand the city’s ban on single-use plastic bags to restaurants and retail stores.
  • Require all city-run events and facilities, such as the Los Angeles Zoo to implement policies to reduce waste to zero. This includes a ban on single-use plastic foodware and a requirement to donate and compost surplus food. 

The CALPIRG Students chapter at UCLA has been advocating for reducing single-use plastics for years, and this fall focused on building support for the Los Angeles City polystyrene ban. 

“Young people are relying on the action that we take now to stop the growing plastic crisis,” said Clara Castronovo, third-year sociology student and the Chapter Chair for CALPIRG Students at UCLA. “We want a future with a healthy environment and clean water and air. Talking to students on campus, we have seen so much widespread support for action to move beyond plastics. So, it’s really exciting to see Los Angeles take this big step forward to protect our environment and keep our city healthy by phasing out polystyrene citywide!”

The CALPIRG Students chapter built support by gathering over 3,200 petition signatures from students since January, had 50 businesses in Westwood sign on in support, and worked with the student government to pass a resolution in support,

“Every piece of polystyrene is still out there in some form, clogging our landfills, littering our streets, and polluting our oceans,” continued Castronovo. “We have done beach clean-ups in the past and in just a few hours, found over 1,000 pieces of polystyrene. We need to stop the problem at the source, and this polystyrene ban will do just that.”

The ordinance to ban polystyrene will go into effect in April 2023, and April 2024 for small businesses. And going into the New Year, CALPIRG Students will continue to advocate for a cleaner world.


CALPIRG Students is a statewide, student-run, and student-funded organization at UCLA that works to protect the environment, make college affordable, and promote civic engagement. They have over 20,000 dues-paying members across the UC system and have been on campus for almost 50 years advocating for students on issues that students care about most.