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[greenyes] Polystyrene factoids derived from Google searches
Our campus Environmental Law Society has been dialoging with our
administration in regards to recycling and composting.
While the law school campus is challenged by matters of recycling that
which is source separated, one of the deans met with the DART products
rep and received a great deal of industry propaganda about the virtues
of polystyrene in the food service industry.  I am not aware of any
polystyrene recycling programs in the New York area but Dart seems to
think that there is a program and a market for the clear plastic
clamshells, black plates, utensils, and styrofoam plates.

Our ELS would prefer to use something that is compostable, i.e. BioCorp,
and have been performing pilot tests with their product.
Meanwhile, we developed a fact sheet to counteract the virtues of
polystyrene and it is reproduced as in-line text below.

A good source of further reading on the problem with Endocrine
Disruption would be the book, Our Stolen Future.

Regards,
Ben

What?s So Good About Polystyrene?
(Information Points from ELS: 2/10/03)

A. Production
    a. Not a sustainable use of resources
            i. Extractive process of petroleum, a non-renewable
resource, is the raw material
    b. Manufacturing creates a hazardous waste product
    c. Sytrene, a compound in the production of polystyrene, is a known
endocrine disruptor.
            i. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
(www.ATSDR.cdc.gov)
            ii. EPA Region 5 has been studying and presenting about
ongoing endocrine disruptor effects ? alkylphenols such as nonylphenol.
            iii. EPA Technology Transfer Network considers styrene to be
a hazard with significant health impacts.
d. Factory workers affected by ingestion of air emissions during
production.
e. HCFC, is still an ozone depleting chemical.
            i. Addition of the hydrogen molecule changes the compound
but still impacts the ozone through emissions.

B. Use
    a. Plates melt when hot food (i.e. bagels, French fries) are placed
upon them.
            i. Change in the compound of polystyrene when it comes in
contact with foods of certain temperature causing ?release? of
chemicals.
            ii. Potential for consumer ingestion due to its instability
in high heat and interaction with certain foods.
    b. Not microwaveable
    c. Inexpensive unit cost per item (plate, utensil) does not consider
the full cost accounting of extraction, production, and disposal.
            i. Extraction of petroleum resource: high negative impact on
environment
            ii. Production: cost on public health and worker health due
to impact of emissions, ingestion, and exposures.

C. End of Life Disposal
    a. All of our campus waste is incinerated.
            i.  Incinerator, not landfill, not recycled.
            ii. Impact of air emissions on community.
            iii. Polystyrene cannot be recycled in Westchester County or
composted.
    b. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are released when
polystyrene is burned.
    c. Alcobenzenes ? benzo(a)pyrene are created during combustion.
    d. Impact with chlorine gases produced during incineration.
    e. Negative health impacts created, in part from the composition of
the MSW, during combustion.
    f. Efficiency of Incinerator to capture and treat air emissions.

D. Sustainability
    a. Does not support zero waste concept
    b. Does not promote waste reduction at the source of consumption and
generation
    c. Impact on reproductive systems
    d. Contributes to the problem instead of being part of the solution.

        i. Human Health
        ii. Environmental Impact
        iii. Consumption and waste of a non-renewable resource
        iv. Pollution
    e. Generally, not recyclable.




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