In Bangor, Maine, city councilors are considering a ban on the recyclable product polystyrene foam. The effects of the ban would be felt not only by small businesses, organizations, and schools, it would also be felt by consumers. Foam bans have the potential to be detrimental for small businesses and their bottom line. This is a result of the costly alternative to foam that businesses will have to buy if the ban is implemented.
Not only would small businesses be forced to spend more on take-out containers, cups, and plates to replace foam, schools would be forced to find an alternative to the common foam lunch trays used. Forcing business, organizations, and schools to spend more puts them at an unfair advantage. The costly alternative to foam is just one of many reasons that a ban is unwise. The proposed foam ban would also kill manufacturing jobs in foam factories across the country.
Its sanitary properties is another reason why restaurants use the product, to ensure the safety of their food. In addition, many hospitals use foam because of its sanitary quality. The ban would prevent them from doing so and would negatively affect the hospitals costs. Foam is also sturdier than the alternative and has insulation properties that are simply not comparable to the alternative.
Lastly, a ban on foam will not address the bigger issue being faced – littering. The issue is not the foam product, it is the way people are disposing of it. The behavior of individuals is what needs to drastically changed and a ban is not the answer. Instead of banning products, educating consumers on recycling would be far more effective.