The University of Connecticut’s chapter of ConnPIRG testified in support of a bill that will ban styrofoam in Connecticut, Dylan Demoura, Zero Waste campaign coordinator and sixth-semester political science and history double major, said.
According to a ConnPIRG press release, the General Assembly’s Environment Committee voted in favor to pass SB 99: “An Act Concerning Use and Distribution of Polystyrene Products.”
This bill, if passed, would ban foam cups and takeout containers across the state.
Demoura said the bill would focus on banning “expanded polystyrene, colloquially known as styrofoam or foam, as it bans foam takeout containers and school lunch trays.”
He said testifying for the ban on Feb. 21 while representing ConnPIRG was a great experience.
“It felt amazing to represent students at the Capitol,” Demoura said. “We were praised by Sen. Christine Cohen, one of the co-chairs of the environmental committee, who praised young people for speaking up for the environment. Sen. Will Haskell praised us for our work and said it was great to see young people there testifying late on a Friday night.”
According to the testimony ConnPIRG presented, 1,658 petition signatures signed in agreement to the bill.
Demoura said that combined with students from Trinity College, there are over 2,000 signatures in support of a foam ban.
“We submitted those to legislators to show that their constituents and students in Connecticut want to protect our future and our waterways before it’s too late,” he said.
Demoura said the usage of polystyrene currently is too high.
“Foam is awful for the environment because it breaks apart easily and enters our waterways and wildlife but never goes away,” he said. “All foam takeout containers ever made or used will be here for hundreds of years.”
He said the bill would provide a good solution instead of attempting to recycle or reuse the material.
“These products overload our municipal solid waste streams as there is no way to recycle foam in Connecticut,” Demoura said. “Efforts to recycle foam are cost-intensive, energy-intensive and only being done in one state. This is not a practical solution.”
According to the ConnPIRG press release, the bill will next go to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
Rachel Philipson is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.