Foam Products Make Sense

Michael Graham with 96.9 Boston Talks challenges the local decision in Brookline, MA to consider a foam ban. Graham says Brookline doesn’t understand the foam facts. He believes using foam products should be common sense.

Foam cups are useful and hold “hot stuff like soup or coffee, safely and conveniently.” Graham asks why are we “giving up all this safety and convenience?”

According to Graham’s argument, alternative products are not sufficient. Paper cups, for example, often leak and tear. Most people think all paper cups are recyclable, but what most people don’t realize is that the majority of paper cups are lined with a thin layer of plastic. Paper cups with a thin layer of plastic are very difficult to recycle.

According to Graham the people in Brookline believe “the landfills are full!” He says this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Also, foam foodservice products make up less than 1% by both weight and volume of our landfill waste.[i]

The amount of space left in the ground will not be a concern for centuries, according to Slate Magazine. Even the EPA stated that national landfill capacity “does not appear to be a problem” despite reports that over the last two decades the number of operating landfills in the US declined sharply.

As foam recycling centers continue to pop-up across the U.S., the amount of foam sent to landfills decreases drastically. Recycling centers not only help decrease landfill use, but also create opportunities to manufacture recycled products. The material processed at a foam recycling center can be used to make a diverse range of products such as, picture frames, hangers and architectural molding.

Understanding the facts on foam will encourage policymakers to challenge the decision to consider a foam ban in cities like Brookline.

[i] United States Environmental Protection Agency, Municipal Solid Waste in the United States 2010 Facts and Figures, November 2011, Table 3

Foam Bans