That one dollar cup of coffee you get on the way to work in the morning may be getting a lot more expensive in Hollywood, California. If the cup you’re drinking your joe, or any beverage for that matter, out of happens to be foam, you could be fined $500 and be sentenced to 60 days in jail. While the law is not official yet, Hollywood legislators have already given the initial approval to ban polystyrene packaging in public places, and the final vote is expected to occur within the next two months.
What is Polystyrene?
Polystyrene, not to be confused with the Dow Chemical Company trademarked Styrofoam, is a popular material commonly used for plates, takeout containers, coffee cups, egg cartons, and other foodservice products. Restaurants, small businesses, and consumers alike prefer foam as it is a great insulator of temperature. But, not only is it an exceptional material for its purpose, it is also the most cost-effective material for these small businesses and restaurants.
A Foam Ban is Not a Good Decision
Small businesses depend on the affordability of this material, and the ban could pose an economic strain that would have negative consequences throughout the area and could even lead to job loss. Furthermore, while a ban on foam cups may reduce the amount of polystyrene that people litter, it does not change their littering habits. Foam would be replaced with yet another disposable type of container that would similarly be littered.
Why Recycle Foam Instead of Ban It?
A much more effective solution would be an education initiative that encourages people to recycle foam. Recycling foam is becoming more popular around the country, and as awareness spreads, it will continue to grow in communities. In fact, select counties, cities, and towns up and down California already recycle foam curbside and at drop-off locations. Hollywood should add its name to this growing list of communities.
When communities recycle foam, they save energy, prevent pollution, reduce their solid waste output, and increase available landfill space. Furthermore, when foam is properly recycled, it can be remade into everyday items like picture frames, garden nursery trays, rulers, and ballpoint pens.
Recycling foam will help Hollywood reduce its environmental impact as well as preserve its local restaurants and small businesses.