SARATOGA SPRINGS — A recent study by Saratoga Unites and Saratoga Sustainable highlighted the use of Styrofoam containers at local restaurants.
Polystyrene foam, commonly known by the brand name Styrofoam, is not biodegradable, cannot be recycled, is a major source of pollution and fills landfills causing direct expense to tax payers. Polystyrene has no place in food service ware in the City of Saratoga Springs — a belief shared by a significant majority of eateries surveyed by Saratoga Unites in cooperation with Sustainable Saratoga.
In this study of 77 restaurants in Saratoga Springs, 16 still use Styrofoam containers for carryout food. However, five of these establishments are planning to switch to plastic or more environmentally friendly materials including cardboard, paper or compostable products. The survey covered both high end and fast service restaurants.
Given the negatives, the modest cost advantage that may result from the use of polystyrene in food containers is greatly outweighed by the environmental and health costs. This realization lies behind the decision of a majority of restaurants in Saratoga Springs to not use polystyrene. Many of those who have switched from polystyrene cited customer and owner environmental concerns as their reason for switching.
In light of these findings, Saratoga Unites and Sustainable Saratoga are planning a program of incentives to encourage voluntary elimination of polystyrene from Saratoga eateries.