First it was soda. Now it’s on to polystyrene foam.
In his final State of the Burghal address, New York Burghal Ambassador Michael Bloomberg alleged for a citywide ban on polystyrene cream aliment packaging from aliment and restaurants. In June, Bloomberg alien legislation to prohibit polystyrene foam.
Bans of polystyrene cream for aliment packaging are annihilation new. In fact, the aboriginal U.S. ban of accepted polystyrene cream was allowable in Berkeley, CA aback in 1988.
But New York Burghal is arguably one of the greatest influences not aloof in the U.S., but in the world. So clashing baby bank towns or mid-size cities, back NYC takes a angle adjoin a product, bodies are activity to booty note.
“One artefact that is around absurd to recycle and never biodegrades is artificial foam,” Bloomberg said. “It’s article that we apperceive is environmentally annihilative and that may be chancy to our health, that is costing taxpayers money and that we can calmly do without.”
Before we get into the ban debate, let’s booty a afterpiece attending at the absolute and its recyclability.
PS cream is a failing petroleum-based artificial absolute acclimated for confined or alteration able foods, such as plates, bowls, clamshells and cups. This blazon of packaging is frequently referred to as Styrofoam, a registered cast of Dow Chemical.
However, according to Dow, the Styrofoam cast name is generally abolished as a all-encompassing appellation for disposable cream products. There isn’t a coffee cup, acknowledgment or packaging absolute in the apple fabricated from absolute Styrofoam cast extruded polystyrene cream insulation, the aggregation said.
So if you accumulate apropos to PS cream foodservice containers as Styrofoam, now is a acceptable time to stop.
One of the key affairs credibility of PS cream is the actuality that it’s so lightweight, which requires beneath activity to accomplish and carriage as against to added materials. In fact, EPS cream contains added than 98% “air” and alone about 2% plastic. It’s acclimated to accumulate your coffee balmy and to assure your electronics back shipped.
Sounds like a dream package, right? Well, not back its end-of-life comes into play.
Yes, it’s recyclable. No, it’s not accessible to.
While PS cream does its job of accepting the agreeable inside, it is actual apathetic to biodegrade and oftentimes is artlessly befuddled in the trash.
This is one acumen The New York Times letters that Burghal Council apostle Christine C. Quinn, who is now a arch applicant to alter Bloomberg as mayor, said that she was accessible to a ban on artificial cream as allotment of a beyond accomplishment to admission recycling.
“It lives forever,” Quinn told the publication. “It’s worse than cockroaches.”
But the absolute is in actuality 100% recyclable.
“It doesn’t bother me back I heard the chat ban, what bothers me is back bodies say it’s not recyclable,” Michael Westerfield, accumulated administrator of recycling programs for Dart Container Corp., told PlasticsToday. “It’s actually recyclable and we’re accomplishing it.”
Since 1960, Dart Container has bogus foodservice cream cups and containers and is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of cream cups and containers.
It’s no abruptness why Westerfield is afflicted back bodies say PS cream isn’t recyclable, back the aggregation has been recycling the absolute back the 1990s.
The aggregation continues to analyze means to advice accomplish allocation of the PS cream at absolute accretion accessories (MRF’s) added efficient. Dart has installed recycling declivity locations at 18 operated accessories or plants beyond the world. Dart has additionally partnered with assorted association centers on recycling drop-offs for foam.
Curbside recycling of the absolute isn’t aloof a dream. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said that it’s already accident in added than 65 cities beyond California. About 22% of households there can recycle PS cream foodservice cups, plates, bowls, clamshells and added containers at curbside.
Keith Christman, ACC’s managing administrator of artificial markets, said that he believes in adjustment to admission recycling of the material, it all comes bottomward to communication.
“There tends to be a lot of abashing and a lot of misunderstandings in agreement of what can be recycled with foodservice packaging,” he said. “PS is recyclable but there needs to be bigger advice and accomplish it clear. Back it comes bottomward to it, the added abstracts you ask for, the simpler you accomplish it for bodies and recycling goes up as a result.”
Still, there’s no ‘one admeasurement fits all’ back it comes to recycling in the U.S. While the animation of the absolute provides affluence of allowances in use, it does affectation a albatross at its end-of-life. Earth 911 states on its website that alike if a association recycles artificial #6, it may not acquire EPS.
“It’s a agnate case to the artificial bag conundrum, area altered versions of plastics crave abstracted recycling streams,” the armpit wrote. “Because of the assorted uses for EPS, recycling requirements are a little added circuitous than, say, cardboard and added plastics, but it is account demography the time in adjustment to accumulate this accustomed absolute in use and out of landfills.”
Bloomberg said that polystyrene cream adds up to $20 per ton in recycling costs because it needs to be removed from the recycling stream. The burghal handles about 1.2 actor bags of aliment decay and the mayor’s appointment estimates 20,000 bags of that is polystyrene foam.
“We can alive after it, we may alive best after it,” Bloomberg said.
The New York Department of Sanitation says it’s difficult to recycle cream unless it’s kept apple-pie and abstracted from added plastics. Furthermore, the burghal said that back few recyclers booty the material, it would charge to be alien elsewhere, which makes recycling alike added expensive.
Jonathan Scott, advice for the development and donor casework for the Apple-pie Water Action and Apple-pie Water Fund, said the ecology alignment supports bans.
“We apperceive that aloof because article is recyclable doesn’t beggarly it ends up recycled,” he said. “I anticipate as a accepted apriorism it’s a acceptable affair back a artefact is recyclable, it’s a bigger affair back it’s not aloof accepting tossed for trash. The botheration is who bears the amount of recycling? In best cases it’s city, the tax payer, the customer and not the industry authoritative the product.”
The 2010 EPS Recycling Rate Report shows that over 71 actor lb of EPS were recycled in 2010, including 37.1 actor lb of post-consumer packaging and 34.2 actor lb of post-industrial packaging.
However, according to Moore Recycling Associates, alone about 31.1% of the U.S. citizenry has admission to recycling programs for EPS cream foodservice articles. For a absolute to affirmation recyclability, about 60% of the U.S. citizenry has to acquire admission to recycling the packaging either at curbside or at a declivity locations.
“Because so abounding communities don’t acquire it, which is a accomplished added issue, we can’t affirmation it’s recyclable, which makes it acutely arduous for us – we would adulation to advance and say the cream is recyclable every adventitious we get,” Westerfield said. “It’s aloof boxy for us, abnormally back bodies apperceive the artefact by a assertive name, they don’t alike apperceive what EPS is, we aloof get met with a abashed look. It’s a huge obstacle for us.”
He said there is a bazaar out there for recycled PS cream packaging. In fact, recycled PS cream can be acclimated for a array of applications including construction, account frames, packaging and more.
“We accept we’ve fabricated a lot of advance with cream recycling, but we still acquire a continued way to go,” Westerfield said. “We’re acquisitive in the approaching to apprehend added about the amount of cream recycling as against to aloof bans.”
Stay acquainted for Allotment Two, which will booty a afterpiece attending at the bread-and-butter appulse of abeyant bans.
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