Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Is it time to say goodbye to Styrofoam containers?

They keep your coffee and Chinese takeout hot but they're an environmental nuisance. One New Jersey lawmaker thinks it's time to follow New York City's lead and ban--at least in public schools and state colleges--the use of Styrofoam containers.

Scott Fallon reports for The Record:

Styrofoam has long been used as a lightweight, easy-to-hold hot food container found everywhere from Chinese food joints to supermarket buffets.

But the container has also become the worst form of litter - the kind that spreads everywhere and never goes away.

Polystyrene foam doesn’t biodegrade. It can break into small pieces and is transported far distances by wind or water. And while it is recyclable, only a few towns will pick them up curbside and most recycling centers won’t accept food containers.  

With New York City poised to ban these containers after battles with the plastics industry, efforts are underway to curb their use in New Jersey, including a bi-partisan bill that would ban them from public schools and state colleges.

[Ed: View a copy of the bill, A-4013, here]

“The negatives are pretty obvious with these containers,” said Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, who drafted the bill. “It’s something that we don’t need. There are plenty of other alternatives.”

A few New Jersey municipalities have gone further and banned foam containers. This includes Jersey City, Rahway and Secaucus, which passed the bans in 2011 after complaints of foam containers polluting the town's Hackensack River waterfront.

Dart Container Corporation, one of the biggest manufacturers of polystyrene products, has fought vigorously against New York City’s ban and tried to persuade Secaucus to retract its ban.

"You sit at these town council meetings and what's getting said is wildly inaccurate," said Michael Westerfield, a spokesman for Dart, which is based in Michigan. "The number one misconception is that foam is not recyclable. It's absolutely recyclable."

Read the full story here

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