Styrofoam will persist
Sorry all you sustainability geeks out there, it looks like Styrofoam will persist in Arlington, VA. Both Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada refused to answer the single-use Styrofoam question after numerous attempts. With Clements leadership on the issue of eliminating single-use Styrofoam and single-use plastic bag gone post election, we are now left with only Chris Sustainability Zimmerman or budding Environmentalist Jay Fisette. Barbara Favola’s environmental leadership is gone as well. Even Favola’s opponent, Caren Merrick, said during her campaign she would consider a ban on Styrofoam food containers.
As for Styrofoam’s persistence in the state, newly elected 49th District Delegate Alfonso Lopez is asking for more information. The same request was made by several politicians during this last election cycle, including individuals in Governor McDonnell’s office. There is no telling how much research they will need. Given the wide concern for the environmental and health issues in the state, the political leader that picks up the baton is likely to find it an easy win in Richmond.
So here is the latest on the Ban the Bags Hold the Foam Initiative. Sierra Club and Arlingtonian’s for a Clean Environment dropped out of the campaign, deciding they need to do some feasibility studies I guess. Jay Fisette said he would conduct a study by the counties environmental team. No further mention has been made.
On a visit to the Alexandria Covanta waste-to-energy plant, where Arlington’s trash is incinerated and turned into energy, we learned that Styrofoam is not a great source of waste to burn for energy, because it burns too hot. This is also true for plastic bags, another petroleum based product, which are also known to gum up recycling systems as well. Recycling numbers for plastic bags continue to be disputed; to our knowledge, Virginia still lacks a commercial recycling center for bulk Styrofoam. That continues to be the odd part of the whole dirty argument.
Unlike most unrecycled products found in the trash, non-single use styrofoam, if contained safely, can be used as an excellent insulator. Because it lasts forever, meaning hundreds of lifetimes, it is a good investment for families who want to insulate their homes and regulate seasonal temperature changes. Few people know that Styrofoam can be liquified in a bio diesel and acts as a fuel injector. Wow, not trash at all and not all bad!
On the other hand, single-use Styrofoam is ridiculous.