Home Kitchen & Laundry More on Styrofoam as Maryland Nears Statewide Ban

More on Styrofoam as Maryland Nears Statewide Ban

Glenn Hasek

This past weekend my family dined at a Mexican restaurant here in Tampa. The food was just fine and as usual I could not eat the entire meal because of the volume of food given to me. I asked for a to-go box and, as most often is the case, I was given one made of Styrofoam (polystyrene). (The server also automatically gave us plastic straws which we declined.)

This website lists some of the reasons Styrofoam is bad for the environment and all of us. Did you know that when paired with liquid and heat, a Styrofoam container’s toxins (like benzene and styrene) seep into the contents?

I recently wrote about Styrofoam, but it deserves attention again. As posted on Green Lodging News this past week, Maryland is on the brink of becoming the first state to ban expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food containers, as the State House passed a bill that would ban restaurants, grocery stores, and other food providers from using foam food containers because of their harmful impact on the environment. The bill also bans the retail sale of these products. The bill passed 97-38, with bi-partisan support. The legislation only needs Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature to become law.

Maryland joins many other communities in taking steps to eliminate Styrofoam from the waste stream—Hawaii’s Maui County, New York City, San Diego, St. Petersburg (Fla.), etc.

Also in the news the last couple of weeks: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced that all 12 of its theme parks have removed polystyrene foam dinnerware products, including bowls, plates and trays, from all its dining operations. As part of its commitment to protecting animals and habitats worldwide, SeaWorld has replaced polystyrene foam with products made from 100 percent recycled material in all its parks. With millions of meals served in the parks each year, the removal of polystyrene foam products, which are not biodegradable, helps keep them out of local landfills, as well as in the ocean ecosystem.

Where is Our Industry’s Commitment?

Other major companies have already stopped purchasing Styrofoam products or have pledged to do so (Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Sandals Resorts International, etc.). Not enough hotel companies have made such commitments.

Have you eliminated Styrofoam products at your property? If so, I would love to know what you replaced the material with. There are certainly many products available today—created from everything from sugarcane to corn to other molded plant fibers.

As Kevin Duffy, President of Biodegradable Food Service, LLC pointed out to me this past week, you really need to do your homework before transitioning away from Styrofoam. Not all “eco-friendly” alternatives to Styrofoam products are safe. Consider PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances). PFAS is used in most molded fiber containers and most paper containers, Duffy said. PFAS is added to make the molded fiber products grease and moisture resistant. Otherwise, the products would fall apart. When shopping for Styrofoam alternatives, you certainly need to ask about PFAS. Some of the ailments linked to PFAS: kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disruption, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), delayed puberty and obesity. Click here to see what states have acted to ban PFAS from food packaging.

I will be writing more soon about single-use food service alternatives to Styrofoam. It is a subject that is much more complex than I imagined. Your thoughts? I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Green Lodging Adds Trapzilla, Big Dipper Videos to Vendor Videos

Green Lodging News has added two new videos to its Vendor Videos section. The first video describes the Trapzilla Super-Capacity Grease Interceptor for grease separation and storage. Trapzilla grease interceptors, solids separators, and sampling ports are designed for easy installation while efficiently dealing with grease and solids waste. The second video describes the Big Dipper for capturing and dewatering kitchen grease. Big Dipper’s complete line of grease traps, solid strainers, and accessories give kitchen operators the tools they need to take control of grease and solids. Big Dipper products use stainless steel wraps and inner corrosion-resistant plastic tanks to maximize return on investment.

Green Lodging News Adds EcoSense Solutions as Founding Sponsor

Green Lodging News has added Sarasota, Fla.-based EcoSense Solutions as a Founding Sponsor. EcoSense Solutions is a nationwide provider that focuses on water conservation through the installation of high-efficiency plumbing fixtures that result in high water and money savings. The company has developed patented equipment that prevents inefficient toilets from wasting water. These unique patented components replace existing flush mechanisms in tank toilets and are designed to avoid catastrophic floods. The AquaMizer Solution also senses nine different toilet leaks (including flapper leaks) and prevents the tank from continuously refilling in those instances. AquaMizer is currently certified by Green Circle as well as Underwriters Laboratory (UL) for an up to 52 percent reduction in flush volume. This green solution has a short payback period, and the system carries a 10-year free part replacement guarantee. Call (941) 487-7329 or e-mail msisti@aquamizerinc.com for more details.

Green Lodging News Adds Polly Products to Directory

Green Lodging News has added Polly Products to its Green Product & Service Directory. Polly Products offers site furnishings made from 100 percent recycled plastic. Furnishings include a wide variety of benches, tables, receptacles, message centers, pet waste stations, bat houses, signs and amenities, all backed with a 20-year warranty. The items are non-leaching, safe and durable for aquatic/salt water environments. Visit www.pollyproducts.com, call (877) 609-2243, or e-mail customerservice@pollyproducts.com for more information.

How to Search on Our Website

Like other search engines you find online, a search using one word will produce articles with that word included. If you would like to search for something that is more than one word long—ozone laundry, for example—you will need to put quotation marks around the words or phrase. Ozone laundry would then be “ozone laundry” in the search.

Who is Your Sustainability Champion?

Green Lodging News is always looking to profile sustainability champions in our Personnel Profile section. If you would like to nominate someone for this section of Green Lodging News, contact me at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Looking for Guest Columnists

Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

An All-New Advertising Opportunity!

Green Lodging News, lodging’s leading environmental news source, announces the launch of Green Suppliers Spotlight, an e-blast to almost 20,000 subscribers that features the lodging industry’s leading green products and services. The e-blast features multiple vendors—unlike the current Green Supplier Spotlight that allows one supplier to “own” the Green Lodging News subscriber list for one e-blast. (Click here for a Green Suppliers Spotlight sample.)

Green Suppliers Spotlight will be published weekly on Thursdays beginning March 7 to general managers, owners, management companies, directors of sustainability, directors of engineering, facilities managers and many others who are either in purchasing positions or who influence purchasing decisions. Suppliers of green products and services throughout North America and beyond are invited to participate in the e-blast. (Minimum two suppliers per e-blast.) Green Suppliers Spotlight was created to give vendors an opportunity to reach a high number of industry purchasers at a very low cost—as low as $200 per e-mail. (Click here for rate sheet.)

Those advertising in Green Suppliers Spotlight can include up to 100 words, one image, contact information and multiple links to their website in their ad. At the end of each month, a report will be sent to each supplier with information on delivered e-mails, opens and click-throughs. The Green Suppliers Spotlight e-blast will also be available in the Suppliers Spotlight Archive section of the Green Lodging News website.

Planning Advertising for 2019?

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2019. Many excellent spots are available on our new website and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Many Green Supplier Spotlight dates are also available. Interested in receiving a 2019 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com. A media kit can also be accessed by clicking here. Thank you to all those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.

Newsletter & Green Supplier Spotlight Circulation

The circulation of our weekly e-newsletter and Green Supplier Spotlight currently stands at 19,950. Thank you to our new subscribers for signing up. Be sure to encourage your colleagues to do the same. There are “subscribe” links on the Green Lodging News home page. You may also e-mail editor@greenlodgingnews.com to be added to our list.

Green Lodging News & Social Media

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As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.