Polystyrene? Polypropylene? Lawmakers fail plastics ID test

By: 
August 24, 2009

I guess they meant well. Lawmakers in Missouri wanted to ban foam polystyrene containers from the state's waterways after determining that too many low-cost PS beverage coolers were being treated as throw-away items, with the Missouri and other rivers as the trash can of choice. Foam PS does not biodegrade, so it's not a material you want filling your rivers.

But—big BUT—the lawmakers blew it and instead drafted legislation banning polypropylene from the waterways. The gentleman from Missouri says, "Show me." OK, here's the link to the newspaper article.

It's funny, in a way, but it's not humorous at all when one considers how often hysteria over certain materials, to include certain chemicals in certain plastics, ends up painting an entire class of materials as guilty. BPA in polycarbonate, or phthalates in PVC, are two well-known and recent examples of controversies over potential health issues in specific applications, which exploded into 'all plastics are evil'-type crusades that pass too easily, and unquestioned, via email and the internet.

It's of course difficult to find the time to do so, but it is in a processor's best interests to be engaged in his local community to ensure such nonsense gains no firm footing. Plus, you can be the local subject matter expert when it comes to the question, "What are those foam coolers made of?"  

 

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