Los Angeles’ Board of Supervisors met on August 2nd to discuss a potential ban on polystyrene food containers. They believe that these containers are accumulating in landfills and on beaches.
Polystyrene foam is often incorrectly called Styrofoam, a trademark of Dow Chemical Company. Many prefer polystyrene foam products because of its dependability and cost-effectiveness.
Residents of Los Angeles are concerned about the potential possibility of a ban. Polystyrene foam takeout containers perform better than alternative products. They do a great job of keeping food hot or cold and they are sturdy enough to withstand breakage or spills.
A spokeswoman from the California Restaurant Association, Adena Tessler, expressed her concerns for small family-owned restaurants. She explains that these small-family owned restaurants are going to struggle to meet new minimum wage increases.
“These families are in their restaurants seven days a week working” and don’t have time to navigate hardship exemptions that could be granted under as part of a polystyrene ban, Tessler said, urging the board to focus on expanding recycling programs.
A spokeswoman from Dart Container, Ann Nguyen, also expressed her concerns about a potential ban. Dart Container makes polystyrene containers and has made many recycling options available for polystyrene foam all across the country. She states that a ban would shut down both of the company’s California plants – putting 650 employees out of a job.
“It is in Dart’s DNA to be an environmental steward,” Nguyen told the board, citing millions of dollars in research and development work.
Dart Container works very hard to stress the importance of waste management by offering recycling programs and clean-up projects. Their goal is to end littering completely with the implementation of recycling education programs that will increase awareness of the problem of littering.
Initiating a ban will not decrease Los Angeles’ liter problem. Individuals will dispose of alternative products the same way in which they dispose of the banned product. What the city needs are recycling programs to teach these individuals the dangers of littering; only then we will be able to break these habits and work towards a waste-free society.