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NYC Councilman: “Foam SHOULD and CAN Be Recycled Efficiently”

By shsmin
In News
Jul 12th, 2016

Chances are, at this very moment, almost every household in New York City has at least one form of polystyrene lurking around. What if these empty cartons found their way into the city’s curbside recycling program (which currently doesn’t accept polystyrene) and eventually manufacturing plants rather than landfills and lodged in the intestines of unsuspecting animals? Although a ban may satisfy environmentalists, it will do little in service of our natural habitat. This form of non-biodegradable foam can be a nuisance but not in the way most people might imagine. Still, it only makes sense that a recycling strategy be created for one of the most widely used forms of plastic

The concern surrounding trash piled into landfills is an understandable one, as it should be. Waste, whether organic, like polystyrene, or otherwise, usually has a hard time breaking down when collected in large volumes. This can be blamed on the way materials are loaded. They are packed so tightly that oxygen, which aids in the breakdown process, can’t penetrate well enough to be effective. Reducing or eliminate the use of polystyrene, as many have adamantly proposed, can’t negatively impact the environment, but it won’t solve the dilemma. Polystyrene accounts for just over %1 of waste poured into landfills, which means once the polystyrene has been removed, NY will still have tons of waste to manage.

In 2011, each person in the US was estimated to have consumed an average of nearly 250 eggs. Recycling those empty cartons could potentially benefit the economy much more than banning them would the environment. In fact, according to the American Chemistry Council, the proposed ban is expected to cost New York City $100 million dollars. Efforts to reduce waste could be put to better use rallying against the manufacture of harmful plastics, like poly carbonate drink bottles. Funds recouped from recycling polystyrene could be used to place more recycling stations and bins in residential areas and alongside roads to encourage people to recycle their empty containers.

Approaching environmental concerns should always be strategic in the way it is planned and executed. When issues are charged at, prematurely and without thought, the result is usually wasted resources that have yielded little or no results. Recycling is almost always a better solution when addressing concerns about biodegradable materials. Proposing a ban is usually more effective when adequate replacement products have been suggested.

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