In an article published on September 5, 2016, news provider edie reports on the “war on waste” currently happening in London, UK. A selection of top restaurant chefs have sent a letter to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, calling for a city-wide ban of expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging, edie writes. EPS food packaging, such as coffee cup, meat and fish trays, can potentially cause damage to the environment and human health, the chefs claim. Recycling of EPS is difficult and expensive and therefore millions of tons of the material end up in landfills every year or pollute the oceans and waterways, edie explains. In the ocean, pollutants can absorb to EPS particles. When ingested, these particles then leach harmful chemicals into organisms such as fish, eventually putting humans at risk as well. A response letter from London’s Mayor stated: “Sadiq does not have the power to enforce a ban on polystyrene packaging in London but he is extremely supportive of initiatives to help boost recycling and make London cleaner.”

The UK-based Food Service Packaging Association (FPA) condemned the London chefs’ demand, stating that EPS “is 100% safe, is resource efficient and has excellent functional benefits.” FPA further noted that the chefs should rather focus their attention on “those people who feel it is acceptable to litter and not [on] the packaging itself.” When addressed about the issue, Peter Goodwin of coffee cup recycling company Simply Cups pointed out that a key question missing in the debate is “how food packaging has become ‘single-use’ in the first place, and what can be done to drive a circular economy.” The focus of the issue should be on “designing systems that can recycle the material and recover this lost resource,” Goodwin added.

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Edie (September 5, 2016). “Polystyrene packaging debate hots up as industry rejects chefs’ claims.

Edie (August 24, 2016). “Army of chefs wage war on polystyrene waste in London.