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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Goodbye styroform


      Maybe it is time for Howard County to follow the lead of Montgomery County and become "greener" by banning styrofoam food containers.  The sponsor of the bill put it this way,

        “It never biodegrades, but it breaks apart, making it especially difficult to clean up. Recyclable and compostable alternatives are readily available and competitively priced, so it’s time to move on from using foam products.”

         Montgomery County joins New York City, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Washington banning styrofoam containers. Our use of these containers contributes to a significant amount of what goes into our landfills and a significant amount of what is polluting our waterways.  A report by the Anacostia Watershed Society indicated that 22% of the waste collected in one of their water traps was styrofoam pieces.  Styrofoam tends to breakup into many smaller pieces which complicated cleaning up this material once it enters our waterways.  The harm it causes to waterfowl who ingest this material is also significant.
      As local jurisdictions look at the bans some businesses are stopping the use of styrofoam.   McDonalds and Dunkin' Donuts are just two that have dropped styrofoam.  While some small business (and the producers of these materials) oppose the switch with the slightly higher cost of paper material containers it is a small price to pay on this end than the long term costs to the environment.  Also not surprisingly opposition comes from those who oppose the government regulating our purchase options.  This tension between the anti regulation crowd and the need to be more sensitive to our environment will continue as we come to environmental terms with how we are impacting our environment and learn to clean up our environmental messes.

      See how Baltimore is cleaning up the Inner Harbor.

P.S. 1
      One more idea on how to clean the plastic from our oceans.

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