Certain things never seem to go away. Some we prefer to keep and others we just can’t seem to get rid of.
Styrofoam will outlive each of us by at least 500 years. Made of toxic chemicals originally meant for construction, it is now used to serve food and drink and, when warmed, leaches into what we consume. Mmmmm Mmmmm!
You don’t microwave sandwich bags, so why drink piping hot coffee out of a Styrofoam cup? Many localities have already banned Styrofoam, and the sky did not fall. Now it looks like New York may soon take action.
In addition to being bad for your health, it is horrid for the environment. You see, Styrofoam takes hundreds of years to break down. But breaking down isn’t a great alternative as it clogs drain pipes, streams, and makes its way into the food chain as it is unintentionally consumed by fish and wildlife. There has to be another way, some say. But after decades of use, disposal is a nightmare, recycling it is difficult and costly, and it puts the fill in landfill.
There is simply no need for Styrofoam. Alternatives exist. Affordable, safe, biodegradable alternatives. Many of these alternatives come from “ugly” produce – vegetables not otherwise suitable for market but which can be turned into bioplastics, helping farmers and growers, our economy and environment in a single shot.
Some accuse Mayor Bloomberg of overreaching at times. However, in this instance, he has identified a concern to the environment and public health, recognized it is an unnecessary danger, and acted knowing full well the public deserves better than the garbage they are being served.
A very similar initiative exists in the Legislature – sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, Ds of Manhattan – which would make this plan a statewide reality. We urge the State to follow Mayor Bloomberg’s lead and finally get Styrofoam out of the environment and waste stream.