Ah, the nannies who reside in New York City’s government are at it again. It seems that New York is constantly working to make sure that no other city in the “free world” can lay claim to the title of “least free city.” The government bureaucrats in New York obviously believe that most adults are absolute idiots who have no right (or ability) to make their own decisions. Instead… the bureaucrats just go around banning stuff.
Whether it’s large, sugary drinks, picking up people who need a ride, letting strangers stay in your apartment, smoking or e-smoking… the city is always looking for the next cool thing to ban. And it seems they’ve found a new victim.
You may know polystyrene foam from its wonderful performance as the packing peanuts in your packages. Or perhaps you’ve enjoyed polystyrene foam’s work keeping your large sugary drink cold, or even your delicious hamburger warm. However you’ve experienced it, you should be preparing your goodbyes because New York City has just announced that it will no longer be available for use come July 1st.
The reasons? Environmental. Polystyrene foam takes forever (ok – not forever, just hundreds of years) to biodegrade.
Here’s the thing, banning anything is usually ridiculous – especially when that thing is not directly life (or bodily harm) threatening. In this case, banning polystyrene is also ridiculous. While it may not be good for the environment, many people use the product on a regular basis. There are other avenues to explore for fixing this issue as well. Perhaps a better option would be to first simply ask restaurants not to use the product. Now that probably won’t work because polystyrene is much cheaper than any of the alternatives, so perhaps the city should instead incentivize restaurants to use other options. (Tax breaks, free recycling, etc.)
The truth is that the government really shouldn’t ever be in the business of telling citizens that they cannot use certain products or exhibit certain behaviors, unless by doing so they are directly harming those around them. Sure some things are bad for you and we can’t understand why some people would abuse their bodies the way they do… but it’s their body, not ours, so we don’t tell them how to act. Neither should the government.
Is polystyrene the worst thing being dumped into New York’s landfills at a regular interval? Probably not. So why should it be banned when other things, equally bad for the environment, are not being banned? It shouldn’t be.
Let’s stop banning things. It’s just plain silly.