Last night, a friend brought us dinner from a local Thai restaurant. The food was delicious, but what ruined the enjoyment for us was the fact that it was packaged in plastic bags AND then put into polystyrene foam boxes (wholly unnecessary). The polystyrene boxes were clean – I mean, like completely clean! – because the food was in plastic bags, but what should we do with those boxes? Donate them to the other food stalls?
The friend who had brought the food laughed at us. “Just throw the boxes away,” she said, looking at us as if we were barking mad to be stressing over eight polystyrene boxes. “Nobody wants them secondhand, they’re cheap-cheap!”
A few short years ago, the pile of needless food packaging sitting in my dustbin would not have caused me such consternation, but now it does. That eight polystyrene boxes did bother me a great deal. And that is a good thing.
Because they are so bad that New York City is joining a growing group of cities in banning them: single-use expandable polystyrene products (including cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers and trays and packing peanuts) are not allowed to be possessed, sold, or offered in New York City. They are almost impossible to recycle and causes havoc when leaked into environments and contaminate drinking water….imagine eating a ball of styrofoam. That’s what some animals are doing, blocking up their intestines.
Look, this bird is eating discarded foam!
Photograph from Midtown Miami Magazine. Please click on the read a very good article.
So when people tell me to stop proselytising about environmental issues, I tell them this: brainwashing does work. I absolutely loathe these awful packaging now instead of shrugging them off, ignoring the problem.
I hope more governments will join NYC and other cities in banning single-use EPS or levy high taxes on them to make them unattractive.