Around the country, various cities have been making the decision to ban polystyrene foam entirely, which has forced all of the businesses in the city that have use polystyrene products to move to more expensive materials. While some states have discussed the bans, like a state-wide Idaho foam ban for example, the bans have been largely ineffective. Even though it may seem like local businesses take the biggest hit, the reality is that they will be forced to increase costs, meaning there is a trickle-down effect that everyone is going to have to pay for.
If you do not know what polystyrene is, it is a foam material that is about 95 percent air, which gets blown up into various shapes and is utilized for all sorts of different things. When you get food to go that is put in a foam container, which is made out of polystyrene. The same thing goes for when you grab a cup of coffee, as the material is used in all sorts of different things.
The biggest reason that this type of material is being banned is the fact that there have not been good means of recycling the used material in the past. This has led to major landfills that are literally stacked with huge amounts of polystyrene products and when you consider the fact that polystyrene takes over five hundred years to break down, this can seem like a big problem. However, there are ways to recycle polystyrene and various cities and states around the country are making the move to develop large plans for polystyrene recycling centers.
Banning the material does not make sense on a large scale. First and foremost, it is a local based decision that determines whether an area is going to ban polystyrene or not, so you are going to have certain areas that are still using the material, not to mention the huge amounts that are already in landfills, meaning the problem is not eradicated anyway.
There have been proven methods to recycle the material, which would create a means of stopping an endless pile up of the material and all of the businesses that use polystyrene would get the benefit. Polystyrene is incredibly inexpensive and can be used for all sorts of different things, so rather than banning the material altogether, we should instead focus our efforts on developing large scale projects to recycle polystyrene, and also let the public know that they can and should save and recycle the material when they use it. Many states, such as Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and Montana have started working on the development of such recycling centers and progress continues to unfold.