Recently, the nestled away town of Brookline, Massachusetts (a cousin city of Boston) has been stricken by a ban on polystyrene foam that would impose strain upon our most useful and necessary facilities, such as our hospitals and firehouses.
Boston’s ban on foam will make it challenging for businesses to safely package all kinds of shippable goods, including food. Most business owners in the area have been using foam for decades as it is both effective and inexpensive. Law changes to the usage practices of this particular packaging instrument would mean alternative packaging would need to be used across several industries.
One reason why many business owners are rejecting the city’s ban is due to the negative economic impact it has on them. In most cases, alternative materials to polystyrene foam like cardboard and paper are significantly more expensive. According to one business owner, it will cost him ten times more to purchase paper cups than his traditional foam cups. As a result, he will be forced to raise his prices and cut his employees’ salaries which will create a financial strain on his business.
Recycling is an affordable alternative with many different, innovative options. To date, there are over 60 cities across the United States that are already successfully offering curbside recycling for polystyrene foam. Rather than ridding the city of polystyrene foam completely, state officials should implement more recycling programs throughout Massachusetts, such as drop off centers and curbside pick-ups so residents can safely dispose of their used polystyrene foam.
People in the recycling industry understand that recycled polystyrene is useful for a number of purposes, ranging from picture frames to building insulation. Businesses can use polystyrene foam and maintain their corporate responsibility values by recycling the material once it has served its purpose. It is not necessary to ban polystyrene foam in order to divert the material from landfills.