Green County in New York has tried to implement a local policy that regulates the use of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam at restaurants in the county. A part of the proposed law includes not allowing “chain food service establishments” to sell or “provide prepared food in any disposable food service ware that contains polystyrene foam.” Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the ban of EPS foam has been introduced into discussion in Green County.
A recent public safety meeting was conducted in Green County to discuss the regulations that could be imposed on foam. The first draft of the law proposes penalties on any restaurants that sell or provide prepared food in any disposable food service ware that contains polystyrene. To make matters worse, surrounding counties have actually passed the law in recent years that have banned the use of EPS foam. Although city and county bans have been enacted in various parts of the country, no US state has enacted a ban on foam.
Luckily, experts on expanded polystyrene were able to attend to speak with legislators at the meeting and explain the benefits and advantages of using EPS foam.
These experts from the American Chemistry Council and Gen Pak cited key points in the discussion as to why a foam ban is bad for the residents of Green County. These experts explained that EPS foam is made up of 98 percent air and this provides excellent insulation for foods, and even aids in food safety and protection. In addition, EPS is much more cost effective for restaurants than other packaging products that exist in the food industry. The ban on polystyrene foam would severely impact small business owners and organizations would have to trade in their current effective foam products for a costly alternative.
Along with food safety and cost effectiveness, foam holds environmental benefits. For example, foam can also be recycled into a variety of products we use every day. In fact, there are foam recycling plants nationwide. Supporting foam recycling, rather than instituting a ban that is bad for small businesses, is definitely the best alternative for Green County and all New Yorkers.