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More bans?

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Friday, May 21st, 2010
By Jeff

Well here we go again. More politicians have decided they are experts on food packaging. This time it’s New York state (Genpak’s home state by the way). State Senator Liz Krueger and Assembly member Brian Kavanagh have teamed with others in an attempt to ban the use of foamed polystyrene food service products in governmental offices and public schools.  They kicked off this witch hunt by holding a rally on Earth Day at a Manhattan school, standing next to a giant pile of polystyrene products. They have also begun recruiting elected officials to sign their SPARE (Stop Polystyrene And Revitalize the Environment) pledge. I guess this document forces governmental office buildings to find other, (more expensive) forms food service packaging. Ms. Kruger went on to say she was proud to be part of something that will ban products blah blah blah, toxic to the environment blah blah, etc etc. All the same rhetoric that is mostly all false or half true.

Here’s what I think. Election day is right around the corner and if you are an incumbent, you’re fighting for your political life. Especially in New York where once again we have no budget in place because of all the political bickering. Hey, let’s find an easy target we can pick on that will make us look like good guys in the voters eyes. Styrofoam!  Yes there we go, lets ban Styrofoam! 

Let’s face it, foamed polystyrene (Styrofoam is a trade name by another company) is an easy target due to huge consumer misconception…partially fueled by the misinformation piled on by folks like this. These politicians make up neat acronyms like SPARE and stand next to a giant piles of garbage talking about the ills of the material. Most of what they are saying are totally incorrect.

I’m not going to go into all the misinformation Krueger and Kavanagh are saying on this post, but if you are interested, I’ve posted before regarding all the misconceptions of foamed polystyrene. They don’t take long to read and it’s real information offered by someone not looking to be elected.

One thing that should be said here is if they are successful, taxpayers in NY should know that most of the alternative materials available are significantly more expensive than foam. Yes there are alternatives. I know because we sell a ton of it with our Harvest label products. It’s compostable and made from annually renewable resources. But, unfortunately, it is more expensive. Given the economic crisis the politicians have put New York State in, I would think they should be looking for any savings they can get. Spending 15% to 20% more for alternative food service packaging is probably not the wisest choice at the moment.

Listen, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. We are not against alternative materials for food packaging.  Far from it. Genpak is leading the charge for alternative materials. We have products made from annually renewable resources, products that have been significantly source reduced, products that are #1 recyclable, products that are produced with up to 50% post consumer recycled content and products produced from hybrid materials that replace a significant portion of the petrochemical resin with natural, annually renewable materials. What I’m against is politicians finding a business sector to regulate and control without knowing the facts, to make them appear grand in voters eyes.

I propose instead of SPARE they initiate DUMB (Don’t Usurp My NYS Budget) or perhaps STUPID (Stop Tying Up taxPayers Invaluable Dollars) and get to work on passing a budget for this great state. Let the food service markets and industries make their own natural progression toward the materials and substrates that make the most sense environmentally and economically.

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