Is a Ban on Plastic Foam Next?
Plastic-foam containers might be on their way out of New York City, thanks to a new ban proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The ban is the beginning of the Mayor's efforts to increase recycling, along with doubling the number of recycling bins on sidewalks.
The long list of pros in favor of the ban is undeniable. Since plastic foam isn’t biodegradable, it “lives forever,” contributing to the 5.5 million pieces of rubbish dumped in the sea daily. It costs the city millions of dollars yearly to process and it fills the streets with particles of trash.
“It’s so brittle,” says Eric A. Goldstein, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York in a recent interview with the New York Times. “It breaks into these tiny pieces, and it’s not easy to clean up. Getting rid of it means our parks, our streets, our waterways, will all be cleaner.”
Though it offers relief to our environment, the ban still proposes a big challenge: If not plastic foam containers, what do we use instead? In many cases the customer can be the solution – for example by carrying our own travel mug or reusable water bottle, we don’t need the foam cup. But reactions from many New York business owners are not so enthusiastic about having to find a replacement. Street food cart owners, Dunkin’ Donuts’ shopkeepers, and other food vendors are complaining that an alternative material, like aluminum, will be too expensive.
"As the legislative process moves forward, we hope that all parties listen to small businesses like restaurants and take into account how it'll affect them," said Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the city restaurant association.
At Wanderlust, we use only sustainable products (utensils, cups, plates, and other food-ware), and have banned Polystrene, Styrofoam, and all other non-recyclable plastics. We have a streamlined program to process landfill trash, recycling, and biodegradable materials, a system that typically reduces landfill trash by 80-90%. To learn more about Wanderlust's waste system, read here: Greening.
How many times a day do you use plastic foam containers? What are your thoughts on the proposed ban? We’d love to hear your feedback.