This post is part of our occasional “How is that sustainable?” series. You can see our previous post on paper vs. plastic here.
This spring, New York City banned the use of expanded polystyrene (EPS) food and beverage containers, effective July 1. (EPS is often colloquially called styrofoam, after DOW’s trademarked brand.)
Although EPS is technically a recyclable type of plastic, it turns out that using it and then recycling it is really not sustainable, which is why it is becoming less and less common to see the material used for things like takeout containers and packing peanuts.
C&E News‘ series “Speaking of Chemistry” recently posted this video explaining the issue, called “Why Don’t We Recycle Styrofoam?”
For more information on this topic, here are a few interesting resources:
- Daneman, M. (Dec 21, 2013) More cities ban polystyrene foam, citing environment. USA Today.
- Hogue, C. (Jan 12, 2015) New York City Bans Expanded Polystyrene Food Containers, Opens Market To Alternatives. Chemical & Engineering News, Latest News.
- The Sustainable Packaging Coalition
- Tullo, A. (2015) Fuming Over Foam. Chemical & Engineering News, 93(12), 23-25.
- Wu, A. (July 18, 2014) Good product, bad package: top sustainable packaging mistakes. The Guardian.