The spread of misinformation about foam has caused a firestorm on the island of Honolulu and has influenced lawmakers in Hawaii to talk about a potential ban in the area. Although many are unaware, polystyrene foam is recyclable and several organizations in Hawaii are working to set the record straight about foam products. Not only is foam completely safe and recyclable, but it is a key component to businesses in Honolulu as they make up the majority of takeout containers.
A foam ban in Hawaii would have serious negative impacts on small businesses and organizations in Honolulu. The result would be costly alternatives for the business or organization and as a result, higher prices for the customer. According to distributor price lists, the price for substitute hot cups is on average 2.5 times that of polystyrene foam cups. The potential ban may lead to forced closure of businesses and organizations if they cannot afford the costly alternatives to foam. In addition, the foam industry provides thousands of jobs across the country and foam bans kill these jobs.
Not only is polystyrene foam cheaper to produce and provides thousands of jobs across the country, it is more sanitary than the alternative. The potential impact of a foam ban would be a negative effect on food safety which would impact those that came into contact with the food. Hospitals also utilize foam because of this reason, the sanitary nature of the foam is something hospitals benefit from when using the product on the job.
Lastly, the potential foam ban would not address the primary issue being discussed in Hawaii, littering. The root of the issue is the people that litter. Unfortunately, people will litter regardless of the material. Education of the environment and how to preserve it should be the focus. Bottom line is, the potential foam ban is bad and will have many negative effects on the local community and across the country.