Greg Michaels’ Thoughts on a Styrofoam Ban in Portland
As Portland discusses a ban on Styrofoam I feel the need to write an opinion piece. I am not a total tree-hugger but I am however a pragmatic thinker. Do we as a society need to ban it?
Honestly, I hate Styrofoam because it’s too light and is a great conductor of static electricity. Yes it apparently is recyclable but there is no incentive to recycle it. I guess the only time I’m really confronted with having to use Styrofoam is when I roll through a coffee shop drive thru or at a restaurant if I need a "doggy bag" and I rarely get a "doggy bag", have you seen me?
I think this goes back to the idea governing ourselves. I’m not really a fan of banning something because it’s bad, I am however a proponent giving people information so they can make an educated decision. I know it's awful in landfills but it does serve a purpose.
The positives, I think for instance Styrofoam coolers are great for camping. What about meats at the grocery store? I know smaller stores use paper but it's not really practical to leave steaks wrapped in paper on the shelf and how can you see your meat if it's in that brown paper? I know we're talking about just food containers but a total ban would be the next step I'm sure.
I know Freeport is Styrofoam free and has been ever since I’ve lived in the area. I don't however live there so I'm not sure if Freeport just bans cups and takeout containers or it's a total ban. I guess I should go to a grocery store next time I'm there at the outlets.
Most places when I get my coffee out, use a waxy-paper type hot drink cup. I remember McDonald’s (and I'm sure other fast foods as well) back in the 80s used Styrofoam for all of their sandwich boxes but now they use parchment type paper and cardboard. They made the switch 20 some odd years ago. It wasn’t law they just felt it was the right thing to do whether it was for public relations or the environment but the switch was made on their own.
When I hear of something getting banned, I just think we need to always look at all sides and weight the positives and negatives. If I lived in Portland I could live with a ban if the city sent the question out to voters and the ban passed via referendum. Call me cynical but after Styrofoam cups, what’s next for ban considerations, diapers and batteries?