From Portland to Eugene, Oregonians are proud of their state’s unique wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and beautiful parks. Environmental protection is a major concern throughout the whole state, and that’s why it’s important for people to be informed when it comes to the facts about polystyrene foam.
In 1990, the city of Portland banned foam use citing environmental reasons. However, most of these arguments were irrelevant then, and have become even more so now.
Did you know that foam is 100% recyclable? Dart Container Corporation has more than a dozen recycling centers in North America, and the company is committed to raising consumer awareness about the benefits of foam recycling. When polystyrene foam material is recycled, it can be used to make items such as garden nursery trays, picture frames, rulers, and architectural molding. Foam is also far less taxing on the environment than alternatives; an average-weight paper hot cup, for example, generates 181% more solid waste by weight than a comparable foam cup.
The Portland foam ban was crafted in part as a reaction to landfill use. However, there has long been a misconception that plastics and food containers are among the main items filling up landfills. This myth was debunked in 1992 when William Rathje, director of the University of Arizona’s Garbage Project, showed that fast-food containers of all kinds took up only one-third of 1% of an average landfill by volume.
[i] Kelly Puente, Recyclable Foam Trays a Cure for Long Beach Schools’ Headache, PRESS-TELEGRAM, May 19, 2011, available at http://www.presstelegram.com/ci_18100171?source=rv.