Polystyrene is the material that composes all sorts of foam products that you typically see when you get takeout food, when you grab a coffee, and is used in all sorts of other things. One of the biggest problems with these types of products it the fact that there have not been efforts to recycle foam, although there are absolutely ways to do it.
In the past, polystyrene products were simply dumped in landfills and there has been a massive accumulation, which has led major cities all over the country to declare that they would be officially banning the material. This includes a proposed Louisiana foam ban that has concerned a lot of businesses, as the material is extremely cheap, leading to lower overall costs to run their businesses. Once the bans take place, business owners would be hit with hefty fines if they are caught using foam based products, and they will also have to incur the higher costs of substitute materials.
Recycling polystyrene on a large scale would work and should be implemented within each city. Additionally, the landfills that have already been loaded will polystyrene can start to be emptied and recycled, which would be great for the environment. A lot of states are taking active measures to prepare for this transition to recycling foam on a large scale, one of which is Louisiana. They have been conducting tests to attempt to recycle foam as efficiently as they possibly can, but the problem still involves getting the public aware and developing recycling centers that are easily accessible.
Recycling polystyrene products is a much better route, as there are ways that it can easily and efficiently be recycled. The first problem is the mere fact that few people even know that you can recycle foam and just assume that it is trash. The first thing that would have to change is the public perception on foam, which could only be done by educating people about the ability to recycle. Many people think that a ban on the material is the best way to address the problem, as they feel that this will decrease the amount of trash that is ending up in landfills, which ultimately are going to stay there for over five hundred years, until the products finally degrade. However, a lot of people do not realize that we already have a huge problem with the drastic volume of polystyrene based products that are already occupying landfills.