Styrofoam Ban: Preserving Environment VS. Local Business Costs


If you’re used to getting your take out food or coffee in a styrofoam container, that could soon be changing in Amherst.

At the end of this month, the town could approve a ban on polystyrene food containers.

The town of Amherst Recycling and Refuse Management Committee.. along with the Amherst Leaque of Women Voters and the Hitchcock Center of Environment all teamed up to back the issue.

Susan Waite, of the Amherst Recycling and Refuse Management Committee informed us of the reasons of proposing this ban.

“Recently the national toxicology program, which is a us department of health and human services has recently added styrene to the list of carcinogens. Also there are a lot of local landfills may be closing in the next few years and the committee was looking at what we would be doing with our trash.”

It was obvious to them that a more zero waste approach needs to be taken. If approved, Amherst citizens wouldn’t be the only ones.

“Many communties throughout the US have moved to this… Seattle has banned styrofoam as has Portland,” she adds.

Businesses in the area had mixed reaction.

Two employees we spoke with at the Loose Goose Cafe downtown today agree with the ban, “We use a lot of paper products, a lot of plastic products we can recycle.”

“I think its great acutally ..anything that can help to protect out environment we should definitely take advantage of.”

Others say extra costs could create a burden for them.

Shiang Sobieski at the Souper Bowl restaurant said, “At this time, the way the economy is, it will hurt me. if I have to use one case of foam containers a week it will cost me $90 when other products would cost $320. I have to say okay I just can’t do it.”

We spoke with one other Amherst business today on the phone who said he would be happy to include an option on the menu for customers to choose biodegradable packaging for an extra charge.

However, forcing small businesses to take this measure, he says, is just not economically feasable.

Ultimately its up to the people of Amherst to decide whether to ban styrofoam or not.

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