Target: Mayor Bloomberg
Goal: Convince Mayor Bloomberg to ban styrofoam in New York City
Every time a New Yorker gets takeout in a styrofoam container, he or she is unknowingly responsible for causing irreparable damage to the ecosystem. Styrofoam is a cost-effective way for businesses to package food but has detrimental consequences for the planet. While customers have little control over how businesses choose to package food, and businesses are always looking to cut costs, they can’t be entirely to blame for using styrofoam. The remainder of the responsibility lies in the hands of the government. Ask Mayor Bloomberg to create a citywide ban on styrofoam.
Styrofoam is a non-recyclable, non biodegradable material usually used for packaging food. A 2003 study found that 1,369 tons of styrofoam are thrown out in the U.S. every single day. The U.S. produces so many styrofoam cups each day that if they were lined up end to end, they would circle the earth.
Not only does styrofoam account for 30% of landfill space, it is also highly toxic. Styrene, the material in styrofoam, leaks into food and drinks that are contained in styrofoam and can lead to respiratory problems. For factory workers who are constantly around the chemical, their nervous systems may be affected. This can lead to depression, headaches, fatigue and blood and kidney problems. Manufacturing styrofoam also releases large amounts of ozone-depleting toxins into the air and the thousands of tons that are thrown into landfills each year leak toxins into soil and groundwater.
With this one material having so many health and environmental impacts, it’s no wonder many cities have banned it. With New York City’s population being one of the largest in the country, it is negligent and irresponsible of Mayor Bloomberg to continue letting this material be consumed in such mass quantities. Over the last ten years, the number of halal trucks in NYC has increased exponentially. They use only styrofoam containers to package their food. Restaurants also typically deliver rice and soups in styrofoam containers. And almost all of New York City’s public schools use styrofoam lunch trays.
Ask Mayor Bloomberg to do something revolutionary before he leaves office and ban this toxic material from New York City.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
Each day, busy New Yorkers find themselves too tired or short on time during the day to cook. So they do the next best thing and order takeout or delivery, much of which will be served in styrofoam containers. With years of studies proving that styrofoam does irreparable damage to the environment and also poses many health risks, it’s puzzling that you haven’t banned the material from the city.
Restaurants, halal trucks and public schools (to name a few) use thousands of tons of styrofoam each year. Because styrofoam is non-recyclable and non biodegradable, it sits in landfills for hundreds of years, leaking toxins into soil and groundwater. Manufacturing the material also releases toxic, ozone-depleting chemicals into the atmosphere. So although using styrofoam may be cost-effective monetarily, the health and environmental costs of using it are monstrous.
Before you leave office, we urge you to do something revolutionary that would hopefully inspire other cities around the country. Please ban styrofoam from New York City.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: wilpf.org