Need to ban single-use plastics

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Last week, the Landmark reported on a new contract for garbage pickup within Brookfield ("Garbage pick-up won't cost more, could cost less in Brookfield," News, Jan. 22), highlighting some good news for homeowners – lower monthly trash service fees. 

While trash collection is an essential amenity of any city, the sad reality is that we are producing too much trash that will waste limited landfill space. We need to cut down on what we are throwing away, and the best place to start would be with single-use plastics.

Single-use plastics take centuries at the very least to degrade fully. That means they have many years to get gobbled up by, and eventually kill wildlife. Not to mention, humans are not immune to plastic consumption either. Yes, we have methods and technology to limit our consumption, but the fact remains that on average Americans are consuming the weight equivalent of a credit card in plastic particles each and every week.

Polystyrene foam is amongst the worst types of single-use plastics, it flakes into smaller pieces easier than other single use plastics making it a likely culprit for our plastic consumption, it's virtually impossible to recycle and can leach styrene, which is a reasonably assumed carcinogen, when we put something hot and greasy in it. 

We shouldn't continue to gamble with public health here in Illinois and ban polystyrene foam cups and containers.

Mitch Bobbin, assistant director

Fund for the Public Interest

Chicago

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