Recyclers and small business owners in New York City entered this year with a victory when a New York Supreme Court overturned the city’s expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam ban on food- and beverage-related products.
Proponents have proven with science that EPS foam can be recycled and industry leaders, such as Dart Container, are ready to act on that truth. Now, after much debate between business and government on the merits of EPS usage, the legal system is supporting what can be an economic and environmentally preferable food-storage solution.
A ban on EPS foam originated in New York City as a result of misinformation that foam is bad for the environment and cannot be recycled. The Restaurant Action Alliance NYC initially brought a lawsuit against the city and has found support from industry and small business leaders. In October of last year, Dart Container released a video highlighting the untapped possibilities for recycling in its industry. If the mayor and sanitation commissioner accept the industry’s offer to recycle all of the city’s EPS foam, New York City would not only save on recycling costs but contribute to an industry-driven green effort.
The economic benefits of a public-private partnership stand out as mutually beneficial. Michael Westerfield, corporate director of recycling programs at Dart Container, has said the process to recycle foam is safe, and it wouldn’t cost city residents a dime. Allowing the city to recycle EPS foam would result in millions of savings and new job opportunities to help combat unemployment. Additionally, keeping the foam industry alive helps keep small businesses thriving, because foam is often cheaper than other comparable materials.
Dart Container and food industry allies who rely on expanded polystyrene foam are working together to spread the word before its green potential and economic benefits go to waste.