February 17, 2013

The quest for bio-polystyrene

I have this draft on bio-styrene for a couple of months now but has never been able to post it given that there are not many companies within the renewable chemicals industry developing plant-based styrene monomer alternatives.

However, on February 14 during his final State of the City address, the mayor of the city of New York Michael Bloomberg announced the city's plans for a polystyrene foam ban in food packaging from stores and restaurants.
"One product that is virtually impossible to recycle and never bio-degrades is Styrofoam. But it's not just terrible for the environment. It's terrible for taxpayers. Styrofoam increases the cost of recycling by as much as $20 per ton, because it has to be removed.  
Something that we know is environmentally destructive, that is costing taxpayers money, and that is easily replaceable, is something we can do without. So with Speaker Quinn and the City Council, we will work to adopt a law banning Styrofoam food packaging from our stores and restaurants. And don't worry: the doggie bag and the coffee cup will survive just fine." - Mayor Bloomberg
By the way, just to be technically correct, Styrofoam is a polystyrene foam trademark under Dow Chemical and should not be applied to all polystyrene foam products unless it is manufactured by Dow.

New York city is not the only place that is considering or has implemented ban on polystyrene foam packaging. Several local jurisdictions in California including San Francisco and Los Angeles have implemented polystyrene bans and [or] have required food vendors to use recycled or compostable take-out packaging.

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