Possible Restrictions of Polystyrene Foam Products in NYC

News reports have indicated that New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is planning to propose restrictions on the use of polystyrene foam food service products. The end goal for this restriction is to increase recycling rates. In accordance with the Mayor, vice president of plastics at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Steve Russell states, “We would welcome the opportunity to explore polystyrene foam food service recycling with the City. The technology exists to recycle polystyrene foam foodservice right now.” He goes on to explain howCaliforniais currently making this work with 22% of households in compliance. A lot of people mistakenly believe that these paper cups and plates are being recycled, but there is no commercial recycling of these products happening. Another misconception about paper product waste is that it is rapidly degrading in landfills compared to other products. While the properties of the items may allow for this, the landfills simply are not designed to comply to this process- they actually minimize the breakdown of waste by blocking out the air, water, and sunlight necessary to support the biological process. Implementing recycling efforts of these products may be sufficient to attain Bloomberg’s goal since the technology already exists, eliminating these products may not be the answer. As Russell states, “Polystyrene foam foodservice products make up less than one percent of our nation’s solid waste, according to EPA. They use significantly less energy and water to manufacture than paper alternatives and create significantly less waste by weight and comparable waste by volume.”

For more information about polystyrene foam food service products, visit: http://www.plasticfoodservicefacts.com/

Blog source: Packaging Digest

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