PennEnvironment calls on elected officials to ban Styrofoam

"Nothing we use for five minutes should live in the Delaware River forever."

Antionette Lee
July 26, 2018 - 7:30 pm
PennEnvironment is calling on elected officials to pass a statewide ban on one-time use items.

PennEnvironment

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As it turns out, those Styrofoam to-go plates you use for lunch and the cup you drink your morning coffee from aren't as harmless as you may think.

The conservation organization PennEnvironment is asking small businesses and restaurants to retire Styrofoam products.  
  
"Nothing you use for five minutes should live in the Delaware River forever," said Jessica Bellwoar, a conservation associate from PennEnvironment. The grassroots organization is calling on elected officials to pass a statewide ban on the one-time use item.

She said they've been used for so long because they're convenient and cheap, but Styrofoam is one of the most harmful products because it breaks up into smaller pieces, which is then consumed by fish and marine wildlife. 

"Most foam, all plastic bags, straws are nonrecyclable items," she added. "Some residents just are not aware of that, so it ends up in either in landfills or a lot of times ends up in our waterways and streams and ultimately in the ocean."

Bellwoar said that can be costly for citizens. One nonrecyclable item can contaminate a whole recycle load and cost money for taxpayers.

"We're polluting our environment and then in turn we're becoming sick because these microplastics end up in our body," she said. "People have to physically pick through recyclable materials that come in to make sure each load they're processing isn't contaminated, which takes a lot of time."

Bellwoar said one step in the right direction is to choose paper or biodegradable items over plastic and Styrofoam