New York City Bans Single-Use Foam
|January 19, 2019||Filled under News||
Happy New Year! As we wake in 2019 StyrofoamMom congratulates New York City for finally banning restaurants from using food foam containers. After years of laws suits beginning in 2013, a judge ultimately ruled last year that there was “no economically feasible or environmentally effective way” to recycle the containers, contrary to the misinformed, and I wholeheartedly agree.
However, food service EPS is a very small percentage of the overall problem of Expanded Polystyrene. At the styrofoam recycling center in Baltimore prior to its close, 80% of the foam collected was block foam. That meant that when Washington DC’s ban was adopted last year they solved the unsightly issue of littered food service EPS, but continue to burn tons of foam packaging thereby taking the material off the list for concerned environmental activists who have been the main drivers to address the problem. The truth is recycling EPS does not promote the use of the packaging, it just makes businesses like Best Buy, Samsung, Apple and yes, even Amazon, accountable for the material deposited in municipal waste systems.
Perhaps foam containers are toast in the long run everywhere, but in cities where banning is not an option, requiring business to launder its styrofoam and make it recyclable, is indeed a powerful deterrent.
It is indeed troubling that we can no longer assume the recyclability of routine products we use like glass containers and plastic bags due to a market shift is viability and a secondary market supply chain. Is single stream really what we should be more critical of rather than the materials themselves.
Our lazy oversimplification of the “single-stream” created an environmental crisis in China, India and Indonesia and they no longer want to accept our “recycled materials” which essentially arrived as solid waste. U.S. industry has got to stop producing anything that cannot be recycled, and needs to rebuild its recycling infrastructure in a sustainable manner. Designing waste our of the waste stream in a closed loops system know by the EPS as sustainable material management requires something that is long overdue, accountability. With a small investment and logistical planning glass, cardboard and indeed Styrofoam-EPS-Expanded Polystyrene, have a strong domestic market. We need to attack the single-use issue head on and stop pretending that simple solutions are the cure, those they are a great first step
I made the movie StyrofoamMom to illustrate the complexities of waste recycling by focusing on one of the most misunderstood materials in the waste stream. Now more then every this movie needs to been seen and the concept of holding the foam needs to be adopted.
As you reflect over 2018, and look forward to 2019, remember all the foam you encountered with every computer, glass bowl, and light fixture you purchase last year, because the foam that surrounded may be out of sight but should never be out of mind. That is why just like styrofoam, StyrofoamMom is not going away. for more information or to help go to StyrofoamMom.com