There’s trouble in paradise. One Hawaii County Council member is reintroducing a bill that would hurt small business by banning polystyrene foam—a popular foodservice material¬. Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara, a representative of the district of Puna, is behind the bill, and also plans to ask for the bill to be sent to the county’s Environmental Management Commission for further review before a vote. The ban proposal is going to be heard in the Environmental Management Commission on July 26th and potentially back to the City Council on Aug 2nd. The revised bill would ban polystyrene products beginning on July 1, 2019.
Foam is a Perfect Match for Hawaiian Cuisine
Polystyrene foam – often mistakenly called Styrofoam, a registered trademark of Dow Chemical Company – is most often used for foodservice products ideally suited for the heavy soups, sauces, and rice-based dishes of Hawaii. It’s also used for coffee cups and lids, egg cartons, meat trays, and other containers.
Opponents of Hawaii Foam Ban Rallied Last Year
A polystyrene ban was previously brought before the council by Councilwoman Margaret Wille a year ago, but the bill died after a tied vote. Opponents of this ban were quick to point out the many benefits of this FDA-approved material.
For one, foam is, contrary to popular opinion, a recyclable. When polystyrene foam is properly recycled, it can be used to make new products like rulers, picture frames, garden nursery trays, and ballpoint pens.
Foam Foodservice Products Help Keep Business Costs Low
Foam is also much sturdier and more cost-effective than alternatives. In fact, forcing restaurants and small businesses to use more expensive containers would be disastrous for their tight budgets. Many of Hawaii County’s restaurants operate on razor-thin profit margins, and foam products help keep costs low for both restaurant owners and their consumers.