Nothing we use for a few minutes should threaten our health and pollute our future for hundreds of years.
Every year, Americans throw away millions of foam cups, containers, and other plastic trash. As a society, we need to stop creating enormous quantities of unnecessary waste. The transition must be made to a zero waste economy, where less is consumed, and materials are used, recycled, and composted, in a continuous cycle. This must be accomplished in the interest of public health, protecting/conserving natural resources and landscapes, and to combat the climate crisis.
Among the worst forms of plastic pollution is polystyrene foam, what most of us call Styrofoam. This foam takes 500 years to fully degrade. Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute our oceans and threaten wildlife for hundreds of years. That’s why we’re calling for a statewide ban on foam cups and take-out containers in Connecticut.
The good news is that we have lots of alternatives to single-use polystyrene items that can prevent needless harm to the environment.
It’s Time To Stop Trashing Our Future
CONNPIRG students continue to run campaigns to get their communities and campuses closer to our vision of zero waste. In spring of 2021, CONNPIRG launched our Zero Waste campaign in support of the Foam Free CT Bill, which would ban single-use polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam. With the Foam Free CT legislation, polystyrene containers, cups, and trays would be banned, and the use of plastic straws would be restricted to customers who specifically request them.
Victories for Zero Waste
CONNPIRG worked to pass the original Bottle Bill back in 1978 to reduce the litter caused by beer and soda containers. It was updated in 2009 to include water bottles, and today, 70% of containers covered under the Bottle Bill are recycled. CONNPIRG has also been instrumental in advocating to shut down Connecticut’s oldest and dirtiest power plants.
In 2019, CONNPIRG passed a plastic bag ban in Connecticut after a successful campaign. The first phase of the ban went into effect in August of 2019 with a plastic bag fee, charging Connecticut customers ten cents per plastic bag. Single-use plastic bags are now fully banned in Connecticut as of June 2021.