Two Wrongs Make One Bad Bill: Small Businesses Benefit from Foam
California Senator Alan Lowenthal has offered a bill, SB 568, which gets two things very wrong. First, it drives up costs for restaurants, cafeterias, and other food service operators. Second, it deprives those food service operations, many of which are small businesses, of their most reliable and functional food packaging option. California cannot afford this bad bill.
Polystyrene foam is widely used in small businesses in the food service industry because it keeps material costs low and performs reliably and well. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses are the number one source for job creation and accounted for 65% of all new jobs created between 1993 and 2009. Given the current state of our economy, federal and state governments have focused much of their time and resources on seeking to foster the best environment for small business growth. However, SB 568, which would ban foam from restaurants, cafeterias, and other food service operations, will create one more roadblock for the growth of small businesses in the food service industry.
Small business growth is essential to increase employment and improve our economy. If a statewide foam ban was passed, small businesses in the food service industry, including local restaurants, would endure significant cost increases by switching to less-functional alternative products. These additional material costs put a strain on the food service industry where profit margins are already razor thin.
If Lowenthal believes that SB 568, which essentially leads to the elimination of foam-related manufacturing jobs, will create “green jobs,” that simply isn’t the case. Capitol Weekly stated in a recent article, “It’s like saying that laid-off journalists will be fine because they can just start their own blogs, or that fired teachers can simply start online teaching, or that unemployed construction workers can find work by migrating to solar.”
Instead of banning foam, communities should implement foam recycling programs. Foam recycling programs can actually save organizations money. Dart Container Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers of polystyrene foam, has helped saved some schools between 20-40% on waste collection fees through foam recycling programs. Building recycling programs not only saves organizations money, but will also create jobs. What people don’t realize is that recycling is a growing industry. Don’t ban polystyrene foam; recycle it and open the door for new opportunities.