Though St. Paul is not currently introducing a polystyrene foam ban, the City Council is conducting listening sessions to hear from citizens, regarding their thoughts on a ban of various food service materials including foam. However, a ban, in any form would have a negative economic effect on restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses and institutions.
Polystyrene foam—not to be confused with Styrofoam, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company—is used most often for foodservice packaging, notably hot and cold beverage cups, to-go containers, lids, plates, meat trays, and egg cartons. Consumers can easily identify polystyrene by the #6 chasing arrows symbol.
Restaurant owners and other St. Paul citizens who utilize polystyrene foam prefer it to alternatives for its cost-effectiveness and its durability. If foam were banned in St. Paul, it would have to be replaced with more expensive alternatives that are just not as dependable. As a result, restaurant and small businesses owners would either have to pay up for more expensive products or increase prices for their customers.
However, there is a much more feasible alternative to banning polystyrene foam. Focusing the efforts on recycling the material rather than banning it is much more productive. Polystyrene foam is already recycled in areas all across the country and recycled polystyrene is used in products like smoke detectors, surfboards, rulers, crown molding, and garden nursery trays. And, as a thermoplastic, polystyrene foam can be recycled many times over.
As St. Paul legislators continue their listening sessions, it is imperative that they consider shifting the focus from a ban to the logical alternative: recycling. Go encourage your legislators to consider recycling foam instead of banning it at the next listening session:
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Department of Safety and Inspections Offices
375 Jackson Street
St Paul, MN 55101