So mayor de Blasio has officially announced that the New York City Styrofoam will be implemented on January 1st of 2019, and as this is a huge win for environmentally conscious people everywhere. We at Rust and Fray couldn’t be more excited, so we’re gonna share give you a quick rundown of what it entails and why it’s so good.
What it entails
So back in 2013, the NYC council ordered a study to take place to see if single use Styrofoam could be recycled in an economically feasible and environmentally friendly manner, with the stipulation that if it can't, then they will enact a ban. The study came back and said that they couldn't, but then a lawsuit was filed that argued that the city does not have the legal right to enact that ban. Just recently this lawsuit finished working its way up through the courts and the courts sided with the city, and so finally on June 13th, de Blasio announced the plan to implement the ban. Over the next six months, New York City will work with local business to make sure no company is caught unaware by the ban, and that nonprofits and small business know how to apply for federal assistance to help them transition. The ban will be on Styrofoam food containers and on packing peanuts.
A Win for the Environment
Banning Styrofoam is of course fantastic for the environment, so let's see how big this win is.
- Styrofoam is polystyrene, a petroleum based plastic, that’s been expanded and pumped with air to get the foam quality. So banning styrofoam is banning a type of single use plastic.
- Styrofoam easily breaks into small pieces and then get lodged in the organs of wildlife, potentially killing them.
- Styrofoam is porous, meaning it will soak up a bunch of heavy metals and other toxins as it floats around in the water, making it extra dangerous for wildlife
- Styrofoam is possibly a carcinogen, and so the process of making Styrofoam has a bunch of negative health effects for the workers and the enviroment.
- Styrofoam often leaks into the food supply of whatever it’s supposed to be containing. So people who drink morning coffee in Styrofoam were drinking the Styrofoam as well. Studies aren't sure if this amount of Styrofoam indigestion is harmful for humans, but it is a not-insignificant amount of plastic indigestion so better safe than sorry.
So all in all, the ban on Styrofoam seams to be a great win both for the environment and for our overall health. Hopefully other cities will soon follow NYC’s lead and we can declare another victory in the fight against plastic waste. If you liked this article, follow us on Facebook or our Instagram.