Using and recycling foam products responsibly is one of GoFoam’s core environmental values.
- Polystyrene foam foodservice products have not been manufactured with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or any other ozone-depleting chemicals since the 1980s. [i]
- The environmental impact from the materials and energy used in making paper cups, as well as the emissions from incinerating or burying paper cups, exceeds the impact of making and disposing of cups made from plastic foam. [ii]
- Foam cups insulate better than plastic-coated paper cups. Paper cup users will often stack 2 cups together to protect their hands from hot temperatures – this practice doubles the amount of waste for plastic-coated paper cups over foam cups.
- Recycled foam is used in eco-initiatives such as alternative energy production and “green” buildings. Recycled foam is an extremely inexpensive insulation material, and is often added to solar panels and windmill blades.
When it comes to foam, it’s not the product that’s bad, it’s the behavior – litter in every form mars the beautiful scenery that defines Oregon. Rather than banning foam in Oregon, we should focus on educating citizens about proper disposal for the sake of beauty and ecology.
Switching to foam alternatives in Oregon is not an effective way to deal with litter, and will not reduce costs associated with litter cleanup. Eliminating polystyrene will force individuals and businesses to use products such as glass, aluminum, paper, and wax-covered cardboard, all of which create litter. There is no evidence to show that litter-control costs declined in the cities that have already banned foam products, because a foam ban will not stop people from littering.
In Portland, the immediate effect of the foam ban was that foam recycling at the Portland-based Denton 10 Plastics was discontinued, while the substitute paper products were simply thrown out by consumers.
“The amount of litter will not change, only its composition.” – Jean-Michel Cousteau, Environmentalist.[ii]
Polystyrene foam is often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company that is used for insulation not food packaging products.
[i] Environmental Resources Planning, LLC, The Contribution of Polystyrene Foam Food Service Products to Litter, prepared by Steven R. Stein, May, 2012, pp 4, Table 1.
[ii]Graph above: JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU, EDITORIAL, TARGET LITTERBUGS, NOT PRODUCTS, TO CLEAN UP BEACHES, VENTURA COUNTY STAR (DEC. 18, 2005)
[iii] IWMB, PLASTICS WHITE PAPER: OPTIMIZING PLASTICS USE, RECYCLING, AND DISPOSAL IN CALIFORNIA, 45 (May 2003)
[iv] Natural Resources Defense Council Environmental Defense Fund Friends of the Earth. Statement of Support for The Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Fully Halogenated Chlorofluorocarbon Voluntary Phaseout Program. 12 April 1988.