Saturday February 23, 2013

The Eagle article and focus on Styrofoam packaging in Pittsfield by attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo has finally triggered political debate. It is essential for communities to realize the hidden danger and cost of Styrofoam in food packaging.

It is an extruded, energy-intensive process that warrants concern for global warming. Its production sources include raw material generated in regions of the world that have poor chemical and product quality assurances. Our environmental obligation and our health and safety depend upon the elimination of Styrofoam packaging. We should join New York City which has banned Styrofoam products. When Styrofoam cups from the Japan tsunami reached the shores of Alaska, it was a major problem.

America is known for doggie bags and keeping leftovers safe. German POWs were amazed when the Army would throw away paper plates. They complained that there was too much waste in America. On the other hand, the Army knew that our economy worked on producing paper products that kept people employed.

Today, we need to remember the value of the paper plate and paper cup again. My background in paper packaging machinery allowed me to see the value of keeping this economy going. A majority of our paper products are produced here in North America. The comparable energy sources hardly convert into global warming status.

The paper cup industry is led by companies such as International Paper, Solo Cup, Dixie Cup, and more. Look for the printed name on the bottom rim of the cup. In Canada, Tim Horton Donuts prints a whole campaign of free prizes under the rolled lip of the cup and looks to have fun and profit with it. The recycling capacity of a paper cup is endless. The best feature single-source recycle is paper products. Additionally its wax is safe and meets the highest standards for hot liquids. RFID tracking and warehouse costs can be reduced by paper product deliveries.

Styrofoam may appear to be cheaper, but the affects of transportation and shelf life are major factors for disposal and function of the product. The additives used to stabilize Styrofoam tear away at any benefit of Styrofoam. Paper cups meet the highest quality standards and assure the safety and health of the customer. Styrofoam in some cases may be cheaper to the store owner but the cost to the customer is still higher. It is hard to imagine that potential Styrofoam savings are passed along to the consumer anyway.

We need to begin dealing with our basic environmental issues. We certainly don’t want to lose sleep thinking about our coffee cup. Perhaps there is no other choice?

MARK EARL DALLMEYER

Pittsfield