Plastic is known for its uses and even more so for the adverse effects it can have on the environment. The basic reason for this is simple; it is non-biodegradable, meaning that it cannot decompose. Therefore, whenever it is discarded, it ends up going in the oceans and rivers and remaining there, completely destroying oceanic life.
Recent research in New York shows that locals discard about 20,000 tons of plastic containers as well as peanut-shaped packaging. These packaging are made of polystyrene which break into tiny pieces whenever they are thrown away, which makes the task of collecting them for recycling extremely difficult. As mentioned above, the worst thing about this plastic is that it does not decompose and becomes an extreme threat to the environment. Recycling this plastic is not only grueling, it is also very expensive. This is the reason that officials are thinking of banning the use of polystyrene plastic containers and packaging.
According to the City Council speaker Christine Quinn, polystyrene is the worst kind of plastic there is because it remains forever. She is among those who are very strong proponents for the ban of these items.
The council has stated that it would ban any product made from polystyrene plastic by July 2015, until and unless a cheap and convenient recycling solution is found before 1st January, 2015. Even though many experts in the industry suggest that there is a way to recycle polystyrene, research shows that this is not the case and there is no hard evidence for the theory. The general manager of New York’s biggest and advanced recycling plant project, Thomas Outerbridge, agrees with the fact that recycling polystyrene products is not possible. He stated that their recycling plant will not try to recycle any such items, and instead will throw this plastic in regular garbage landfills.
Out of the many West Coast cities that have banned the use of foam products used in food industry, the official website of San Jose, California, explicitly states that the combination of decomposing food items along with polystyrene products is literally “impossible to recycle”. This is why the use of foam containers is absolutely prohibited in San Jose.
Local and international companies are becoming more aware of the hazards of polystyrene usage, which is why they have started using other alternatives like, paper and other kinds of environment-friendly plastics. McDonald’s, the international food franchise announced that it will stop using polystyrene cups and will instead opt for paper cups.
New York too is becoming more and more concerned about rising deterioration caused by polystyrene plastic. The Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, recently made a public speech where he declared that living without such products is not only possible but a shot at increasing lifespan!