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Commercial Styrofoam Products Banned From New York City as of July 1

Styrofoam, more formally known as polystyrene, is everywhere, despite its negative environmental effects. The plan for New York City to join the cluster of West Coast cities that have banned the ecologically toxic substance has finally come to a head. Mayor de Blasio announced the plan to ban single-use polystyrene products effective July 1. That means your traditional takeout containers, coffee cups, and packing peanuts will disappear from New York City restaurants and bars.

“These products cause real environmental harm and have no place in New York City. We have better options, better alternatives, and if more cities across the country follow our lead and institute similar bans, those alternatives will soon become more plentiful and will cost less,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a prepared statement. “By removing nearly 30,000 tons of expanded polystyrene waste from our landfills, streets and waterways, today’s announcement is a major step towards our goal of a greener, greater New York City.”

With the ban, New York City becomes the largest city in the country to ban polystyrene. Many restaurateurs were not too happy about this decision, because flimsy foam containers are cheap, whereas containers made from durable recyclable plant materials are inherently more expensive. But Leith Hill, the owner of Ellary’s Greens, an organic café in New York, believes that protecting the environment outweighs price margins.

“While it true that polystyrene containers are the least expensive containers on the market, they come at a high price to the environment, to nature and animal life, and to humans,” Hill told The Daily Meal. “The hope is that with more people buying more environmentally friendly containers that the prices of those will come down and we’ll all realize savings. At Ellary’s Greens we use two types of paper-based containers, and both are recyclable. They look great and they showcase our food beautifully.”

Biodegradable foam packaging, which looks and acts a lot like Styrofoam, is a smart alternative, and can be made from paper, plant materials, clay, or even cane sugar.

New York restaurants scramble for alternatives after city bans foam packaging

Starting in July, single-use foam packaging will be banned in New York City. What are the alternatives – and what will a foam-free city look like?

New York will ban single-use foam packaging from July 1 2015. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York will ban single-use foam packaging from July 1 2015. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Last modified on Mon 19 Sep 2016 17.50 BST

New York this month became the biggest US city to ban polystyrene foam, often called styrofoam. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the ban, which will take effect 1 July, after the city’s sanitation department determined that polystyrene foam is non-recyclable, a hazard to marine wildlife and a contaminant to the city’s organics program.

The ban will affect food and drinks providers across the city, many of whom use polystyrene foam packaging to serve their customers. The city allows for around 3,000 food vendors, and upwards of 20,000 restaurants reside across the five boroughs. Polystyrene foam has been the go-to material for take-out containers for decades – mainly for its low cost and effective heat insulation. But it’s also created a problem for the city’s waste program.

In 2014, New York’s sanitation department collected approximately 28,500 tons of expanded polystyrene, and estimates that around 90% of that is from single-use food-service products like cups, trays and containers. The presence of polystyrene foam in New York’s waste stream has a detrimental effect on the city’s organic collection program, the department says. During the collection process, foam can break down into small pieces that get mixed in with and contaminates organic material, rendering it unmarketable for anaerobic digestion or composting.

New York is not the first to come to this conclusion. Styrofoam’s apparent burden on waste reduction and the local environment has seen city after city banning it. More than 70 cities across the country are already enforcing bans – or have set dates for the ban to start – including Washington DC, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Albany and Seattle.

However, New York’s ban could be a gamechanger, because of the city’s population of more than 8 million – the country’s largest – and its extensive list of eateries. Compare this to San Francisco or Seattle, for example, who both record populations of fewer than 1 million, and the potential becomes quite clear.

The ban, which offers businesses a six-month grace period from when the law takes effect before fines are imposed, has been on the cards since former mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed it two years ago. Despite this, the announcement has caused mixed reaction from local businesses, consumers and suppliers. Some local businesses say they will have to increase prices because of alternatives costing more than the cheaper polystyrene foam. Others have agreed that a slight increase in cost is worth the reduced environmental impact.

The New York State Restaurant Association says it will work with the city to educate restaurants on how to comply with the la,w and help them find alternative products that are “better for the environment and cost-effective”.

And for bigger brands, the ban is likely to accelerate their need to find alternatives. Dunkin’ Donuts, known for its large polystyrene cups, will comply with the incoming ban and says it will phase the material out completely in the next two or three years.

“We are currently testing a double-walled paper cup and a recyclable polypropylene cup in limited markets. We will continue to explore and test additional materials as they become available,” Dunkin’ Donuts says.

This increased need for alternatives is seeing suppliers of green substitutes ready to push their products into the city. Vegware, a supplier of 100% compostable packaging, says it is poised to support zero-waste and waste-reduction initiatives with its products. The company’s compostable products advocate and consultant, Julia Wetstein, says that the ban not only benefits the environment. “[The ban] allows restaurants and other institutional waste generators to consider the benefits of compostable products that can go along with food scraps to a composting facility, and result in a very desirable and beneficial product for soil amendment,” she adds.

Other cities that have banned polystyrene foam food packaging are already seeing significant benefits. A ban set to start from April this year in Minneapolis has already encouraged a number of restaurants and fast food businesses to move towards greener packaging, Minnesota senator John Marty says. “This ban isn’t causing a huge uproar, despite forcing all of the businesses to make the switch. It definitely is leading to environmentally better packaging – the restaurants are switching to recyclable packaging,” he says.

The ban is being well received by the public, and makes them think about the waste being generated, Marty says. “As a result, I would guess that it changes people’s personal behaviour when they are shopping elsewhere, so it is likely to have an impact beyond the city borders,” he adds.

Giving greater insight, the city of Seattle has enforced a ban on polystyrene foam single-use packaging since January 2009. In 2008, the city recorded 516 tons of expanded polystyrene used for food packaging. By 2012, that had dropped to 174 tons.

Dick Lilly, the business manager of the Seattle Public Utilities Solid Waste division, says the only reason the figure isn’t zero is because the city can only regulate what’s packaged on site. Packaged foods imported from outside of the city, such as those used for meat trays in supermarkets, are not controlled. As well as the substantial drop in the city’s polystyrene waste, it has also seen a great influx of greener alternatives. Lilly says that when the city first reviewed the number of compostable packaging products, the number was around 70. Within four years that grew to roughly 700.

Like New York, local businesses in Seattle complained about the cost impact of alternatives, says Lilly. “But our view was that we were creating a level playing field and we felt we didn’t need to consider additional cost as a hardship,” he adds.

Lilly says the effect of banning polystyrene foam products and moving to compostable alternatives is that the compostable packaging becomes the “vehicle for moving leftover food for composting, rather than landfill”.

“By pushing business towards composting, we’re diverting organics from landfill, which reduces the methane generation from the landfill,” says Lilly. In this instance, New York’s polystyrene ban has the potential to make quite a dent in its waste and methane impacts.

Customers blast Dunkin' for dropping foam cups: 'Changing the best part of my day'

Dunkin&apos Donuts is going green, ghosting its iconic foam coffee cups and hastening the end of a New England tradition of 𠇍ouble-cupping” cold iced-coffee with an insulating second cup.

Not surprisingly, irate coffee drinkers are taking advantage of social media to voice their displeasure.

The company had announced it was doing away with foam cups last year over environmental concerns, with the hashtag #DoubleCupBreakup trending as the Dec. 1 moratorium draws near and iced-coffee drinkers mourning the days when they could insulate their favorite drink -- served in a plastic cup -- with a foam version to keep it cold for longer periods of time, all while keeping their hands warm.

Dunkin’s most recent ad campaign is using lighthearted humor to comfort longtime 𠇍ouble-cuppers,” with such slogans as “The Double Cup is Breaking Up,” and 𠇌onsciously Un-cup-ling” along with its #DoubleCupBreakup viral hashtag.

Tol help 𠇍ouble-cuppers” through the transition, some Dunkin&apos locations are giving away eco-friendly, reusable insulating sleeves, known as koozies, as an alternative.

“Walking carefully with them through that journey is really important,” Scott Murphy, the chief operating officer for਍unkin’ Brands, told the Boston Globe. “The texture of that foam cup, the slope of the sides, it’s just a very familiar feeling. There’s just this intimate connection that we’re changing.”

The Boston Globe reports that the phenomena of 𠇍ouble-cupping” iced-coffee originated in Rhode Island, where the trend quickly spread throughout New England. Dunkin has been inundated with complaints over its disruption of the practice, Murphy said..

“They say, ‘You&aposre changing the best part of my day.’ Which was literally soul-crushing,” Murphy told the Globe.

REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

The move has been 10 years in the making.

Dunkin’ reports using upwards of a billion foam cups every year due to its inexpensive and light-as-air qualities, but as people grow more concerned about protecting the environment, many communities and college campuses have imposed aਏoam ban. New York City, one of Dunkin&aposs biggest markets nationwide with򠕨 locations as of last year, imposed one in 2015, which was vetoed shortly afterward and reinstated in 2018.

“We&aposve looked at recyclable cups, we&aposve looked at reusable cups. We&aposve looked at cups that are compostable,” Murphy said. “We&aposve looked at cups that are made out of recycled water bottles. We&aposve looked at cups that some people have claimed you could drop in the Charles River and they would disintegrate.”

A NextGen Dunkin' Donuts location in Corona, Calif. (Dunkin')

Dunkin’ chose a new double-walled paper cup in February that&aposs expected to start hitting stores this spring in markets that already have foam bans. However, Murphy said that the company discovered crew members had been stockpiling boxes of foam cups for longtime customers in anticipation.

𠇏or every quote-unquote millennial who won’t drink out of foam and wants to make the environment a better place, there’s also my father, who’s a veteran, who thinks it’s the best cup in the world and will save that foam cup to store nails in his basement,” Murphy told the news outlet.

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6 great DuPont and Dow inventions that have changed the way we live

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Dow Chemical Co. DOW, -0.35% and DuPont & Co. DD, -0.15% , two of the oldest companies in the United States, on Friday agreed to merge, creating a company with a combined market capitalization of $130 billion.

The new company, to be called DowDuPont, will then be split into three independent, publicly traded companies, focusing on agriculture, material science and specialty products.

The two companies are behind countless consumer and industrial products that are used every day, including several that have changed the way millions of people all over the world dress, play, furnish their homes, and even cook—we are looking at you, Teflon.

Dow Chemical trademarked the foam brand Styrofoam more than 60 years ago.

Although the name is a generic term to describe those disposable coffee cups and to-go food containers that linger on landfills for years, Dow goes to great lengths here to explain why you can’t drink coffee from a Styrofoam cup (short answer: The Dow brand is used mostly for crafts and insulation, not in the making of food packaging, egg cartons, and the like.)

Foam food containers were banned in New York City in July, but in September a State Court judge overthrew the ban, and earlier this month the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division denied the city’s motion to reinstate the ban.

Researchers at Stanford University, in collaboration with researchers in China, found out this year that common mealworms can munch on the stuff, and the worms’ castings appear to be safe to use on crops.

Dow is a leading supplier of chemicals and plastics used in artificial turf.

The company manufactures product for all of the layers that make up artificial turf, including short absorbers, polyurethane backing, infill granules, and the upper layer of yarn that replicates the look of grass.

Dow turf will be the official playing surface for hockey games at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

DuPont chemist Wallace Carothers is credited with inventing nylon, or “artificial silk,” in the 1930s. Nylon has also substituted for silk and other fibers in military use (parachutes, tents), in strings for guitars and other instruments, in toothbrushes, sutures, and, of course, sheer hosiery, which are also known as nylons.

Pantyhose, incidentally, might be going the way of the silk stockings they largely replaced in the 1960s.

According to marketing company NPD Group, sales of hosiery products, which also include men’s and women’s socks as well as tights, grew 3% to $7.3 billion in the 12 months ending in May. Sheer hosiery, however, was a small sliver of that market—at $482 million. Tights and socks have enjoyed consistent gains.

Millennials could save pantyhose from oblivion, however. NPD says sales of sheer hosiery are up 9% among that age group—a far cry from the 24% increase in sales of women’s tights and 13% increase in men’s socks, but nothing to sneeze at.

Lucite is one of the trade names for acrylic, a frequently used plastic alternative to glass (other names include Plexiglas and Perspex). DuPont started making Lucite in the late 1930s.

The apex of Lucite, however, was the 1960s and 1970s, when the product was used to make transparent, molded furniture such as chairs and tables. Starting in the late 1940s, Lucite was also popular in jewelry and handbags, many imitating mother-of-pearl or tortoise shell.

Lucite was never a big money maker for DuPont, the company says, and these days the Lucite name is carried on in a line of commercial acrylic automotive lacquers.

Teflon was a DuPont brand name for polytetrafluoroethylene, a resin discovered in 1938 by chemist Roy Plunkett.

Teflon was initially a disappointment: Plunkett, who worked for DuPont his entire career, was trying to find a new coolant, and many worried that slippery Teflon would never find a market.

Besides its well-known use as non-stick coating for pots and pans, Teflon is also an additive used in paints, carpets, home furnishings, and clothing. DuPont spun off the maker of Teflon, The Chemours Co. CC, +0.39% , in July.

Chemists at DuPont forever changed the garment industry in the late 1950s, when they invented Lycra.

In its patent application for Lycra, DuPont highlighted some of the features that would make Lycra famous: The “outstanding properties” suggesting “many applications in the film and fiber fields,” including a “high elasticity.”

The company was thinking more in terms of surgical stockings when it described “a garment made of yarns having high tenacity and high stretch,” exerting “substantial pressure upon the body of the wearer,” but the public soon had other ideas.

In the Grenoble, France, 1968 winter Olympics, the French ski team made headlines by wearing sleek Lycra ski suits, a trend quickly picked up by swimmers in the 1972 summer games. From there, it wasn’t a big stretch to get to the leggings and leotards of the 1970s and 1980s fitness fad.

DuPont textiles division, later named Invista, was sold to privately owned Koch Industries in 2004 for more than $4 billion. Invista brands also include Stainmaster, Coolmax, and Tactel.

DuPont chemists also came up with other insanely popular products such as Kevlar, a fiber invented by Stephanie Kwolek. Kevlar is used in lightweight body armor, law enforcement vests, and other safety garments, but also in a wide range of consumer products, including the Kevlar-wrapped Motorola Droid Razr M.

DuPont scientists also invented synthetic rubber Neoprene, used in products such as laptop sleeves, wetsuits, and yes, that beer and soda can cozy.

  • Single-service foam items, including cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers and trays.
  • Foam loose fill packaging, commonly known as “packing peanuts.”
  • Foam containers used for prepackaged food that have been filled and sealed prior to receipt by the foodservice establishment, mobile food commissary or store.
  • Foam containers used to store raw meat, pork, fish, seafood or poultry sold from a butcher case or similar appliance.
  • Foam blocks used as protective packaging in shipping.

Nonprofits and small businesses with less than $500,000 in gross income for the most recent tax year may apply for hardship exemptions from the Department of Small Business Services if they can prove that the purchase of alternative products not composed of expanded polystyrene would create a financial hardship.

Mayor Bloomberg's Proposed Styrofoam Ban Is Anti-Business And Anti-Consumer

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivers the annual State of the City address at the Barclays . [+] Center on February 14, 2013 in New York City. Bloomberg called for a ban on styrofoam in the city. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

While it may not be easy being green, New York City will be a much more hospitable place for small gray animals once the Mayor’s mandatory food composting plan goes into effect. Rats and mice will be the real winners when every City resident has to leave out their rotting food until composting day. For New Yorkers, the idea stinks.

Yet the composting plan looks almost sensible when compared to another Bloomberg initiative taking shape a ban on the foam containers and cups we use to keep food warm and coffee from leaking.

Last month, Bloomberg puppet Lewis Fidler (D-Brooklyn) introduced a bill in the City Council that would end the use of expanded polystyrene, more widely knows as styrofoam. Gone would be containers, trays, and other products at restaurants, food trucks, and stores beginning July 1, 2015.

This latest Bloomberg Ban would make our take-out and delivery food a little more expensive and a lot messier. It would also harm the small businesses Bloomberg claims to support, as they’d have to pay nearly double for alternatives. Worse, the ban will do little to protect the environment — especially in light of a more rational approach.

Voicing her support for the bill, City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said that “at the end of time, the only things that are going to be left are cockroaches and styrofoam unless we do something about it.” While I’d rather get rid of the cockroaches and rodents first, there’s no valid reason styrofoam can’t be recycled.

City Hall, a usually enthusiastic supporter of recycling, currently blocks recycling of styrofoam. That’s right, the Department of Sanitation goes so far as to admonish children not to “place foam lunch trays in your school’s recycling bin for DSNY collection.” Approximately 830,000 foam lunch trays are used daily in NYC public schools. Those alone could sustain a local recycling facility.

Why won’t the City recycle styrofoam? The Department of Sanitation claims it is difficult to recycle foam unless kept clean and separate from other plastics. Further, the City claims few recyclers will take foam — requiring it to be shipped to “distant factories,” thus making recycling “expensive, unsustainable and not environmentally friendly.” If these reasons are applied across the board, there’d be a lot less recycling overall — the same barriers apply to recycling food-service paper as well. Paper is no panacea.

However, as the American Chemistry Council points out, more than 65 cities across green-friendly California already recycle foam. There’s no reason New York City can’t do so as well. An efficient and inexpensive insulation in green buildings, you’d think Mayor Bloomberg would love it.

The argument that paper is always better for the environment just doesn’t hold water.

Super-light weight foam, which accounts for just half of one percent of the city’s solid waste, is often the greenest choice.

Heavy paper containers and cups —which would be necessary for food-services —would not only be more expensive, less convenient, and worse insulators than foam, they are more difficult to keep out of landfills and perhaps more difficult to recycle.

In coffee-loving Seattle, where styrofoam cups are already banned, they’ve been having a hard time recycling their allegedly green paper cups, according to The Seattle Times.

They’ve found that mills don’t want recycled coffee cups because the process takes longer, making cups more expensive to process than items like recycled cardboard boxes. And facilities that do accept the “mixed paper” that paper coffee cups and other food service items contribute to, only use it in a 1:10 ratio with higher-quality fibers. So there’s not much of a market for it, at least in the U.S.

What happens to the rest of the allegedly green alternative to styrofoam? If it doesn’t end up in a landfill, it goes on quite a journey. About half of all U.S. recycled paper gets shipped to China, where a higher percentage of “mixed paper” is acceptable. But unlike cardboard, which goes on the ironically environmentally unfriendly recycling trip to China, products touched by food are turned away by Chinese customs officials. Milk and soda bottles, for instance face a stopover in Indonesia for an environmentally costly cleaning, before finally being recycled in China. Foam, on the other hand, is already being recycled in the U.S. and can be done so locally because a market exists for the end product.

Being green doesn’t have to mean being anti-business and anti-consumer. The City should explore sensible approaches to protecting the environment without banning a practical and affordable product.

New York City based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division.

Company says plastic recycling offers environmental and economic benefits.

Tomra Sorting Recycling, the Germany-based manufacturer of sensor-based sorting systems, has published a new e-book, “The Plastics Value Chain,” sharing ideas for reducing plastic waste throughout the plastics value chain. The free-to-download publication addresses how wider adoption of a circular economy is not only vital for our environment but also can bring new business opportunities.

The company says its latest e-book acknowledges that plastic has become essential in our lives because of its many advantages, but adds that action is needed to prevent the growing threat plastic waste is posing to our oceans and marine life. The crux of the matter, according to the e-book, is what we do with the plastic after use and how plastics re-enter the circular economy. By implementing effective measures in the plastics value chain, we can ensure the long-term health of our economies, communities and environment, Tomra says.

The e-book identifies some actions key industry stakeholders in the plastics value chain—chemical and plastics manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, consumers, waste management companies, recycling facilities and legislators—can take to prevent further environmental damage.

Beyond the environmental benefits of recycling, the e-book observes how positive economic shifts also can be expected, Tomra says. Economies that once used the linear model are embracing new business opportunities through advanced sorting technologies that purify and deliver high-quality recyclates, the company adds.

The e-book can be downloaded at

Legal Divisions

Administrative Law & Regulatory Litigation

Division Chief: Sheryl Neufeld | Deputy Chief: Michelle Goldberg-Cahn

  • Affordable Housing: Prevailed in a challenge to rezoning of the former Pfizer factory in Brooklyn, enabling the development of more affordable housing.
  • Rent Freeze for Seniors: Resolved class action providing seniors and disabled opportunities to avail themselves of the City&rsquos rent freeze program if prevented from doing so due to their disabilities.
  • Release of Property: Refined City&rsquos procedures for the return of property vouchered during criminal proceedings, facilitating the process for individuals to retrieve their property.
  • Adult Use: Handling quality of life enforcement efforts by defending the City&rsquos zoning restrictions on adult-use establishments throughout the City.
  • Illegal Short-Term Hotel Rentals: Continue to defend a challenge to newly enacted law concerning disclosures by online platforms that offer short-term rentals in order to enhance the City&rsquos enforcement against the illegal hotel use of permanent housing.
  • Lead Issues: Work with City agencies to litigate and counsel on various issues relating to the hazards from lead in housing.

Affirmative Litigation

  • Illegal Cigarettes: Settled with FedEx on eve of trial over untaxed cigarette shipments, with City receiving $8.5 million and ensuring compliance continued enforcement against large-scale cigarette trafficker, collecting $7.5 million held in a Swiss bank.
  • Census Citizenship Question: Successfully challenged (as part of a coalition) the Commerce Secretary&rsquos decision to question citizenship on the 2020 Census, protecting the City against an undercount of immigrant groups whose members would be deterred from participating.
  • Sanctuary Cities: Successfully challenged the federal government&rsquos imposition of immigration-related enforcement conditions on federal grantees, validating the City&rsquos public health and safety laws and policies protecting confidential info of all residents, including immigrants.

Appeals Division

  • Daycare Vaccination Rule: Secured unanimous ruling from the New York Court of Appeals upholding a City rule requiring children attending regulated daycare to receive a flu vaccine.
  • Foam Products Ban: Successfully defended a City&rsquos ban on single-use foam food containers and similar products against a restaurant industry challenge.
  • Car Wash Worker Protections: Successfully defended a City law adopting protections for vulnerable car wash workers against an industry challenge.
  • Amicus Briefs: Filed more than a dozen amicus briefs, in courts ranging from the U.S. Supreme Court to district courts, in support of public-sector union fees, local engagement with immigrant residents, access to reproductive health care, net neutrality and other issues.

Commercial & Real Estate Litigation

  • Dismissal of Pension Action: Upheld the separate nature of a government entity from the private companies with which the government has contracts defeated a federal appeal of the dismissal of a Pension Fund&rsquos claims, which sought to impose more than $115-million liability on the DOE arising out of private companies&rsquo withdrawal from a Pension Fund.
  • Upheld Construction Contract Notice and Remedy Provisions: Protected the City&rsquos contract rights concerning notice of delay damages and alternative dispute resolution by obtaining partial summary judgment in a $40-million case arising from Hurricane Sandy damage.
  • Favorably Resolved Construction Claims: Protected the public &ldquofisc&rdquo by completing a favorable settlement in a suit involving 38 parties and claims exceeding $600 million these arose from extensive delays in completing construction of the Bronx County Hall of Justice.
  • Dismissal of Challenge of Termination of Docking Permit: Upheld the City&rsquos right to terminate docking permit of a private tour boat operator based on safety and rules violations defeated a preliminary injunction and won dismissal of a federal case by a tour boat company seeking $30 million in damages for terminating its docking rights.
  • Successfully Opposed Damage for Delay Legislation: Protected the City&rsquos interests in construction contract disputes by providing counseling that contributed to Governor&rsquos veto of proposed delay damage legislation.
  • Defeated Contractor&rsquos Challenge of Default: Vindicated the Department of Transportation&rsquos determination to default a contractor for failing to comply with a construction project schedule by obtaining dismissal of the contractor&rsquos Article 78 petition.

Contracts & Real Estate

  • On-Call Emergency Contracts: Counseled the On-Call Emergency Contract Task Force on the procurement of 45 on-call emergency contracts designed to provide services that will respond to large-scale declared emergencies.
  • New York Public Library Capital Projects: Worked to help create a streamlined and more efficient process for City approval of NYPL capital improvements, supported by $100 million in City Capital Funding, including the a renovation of the mid-Manhattan Library.
  • Commercial Waste Zones: Worked with City and office colleagues to implement a system of zoned collection for commercial waste commercial waste zones reduce truck traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • IDNYC: Counsel City Hall and the Mayor&rsquos Office of Immigrant Affairs in discussions on the addition of a chip to the IDNYC that would facilitate banking services for IDNYC holders.
  • Project Labor Agreements: Continue to provide counsel to City Hall in preparation for re-negotiation of the Citywide Project Labor Agreements.

Economic Development

  • Battery Maritime Building: Executed a new developer lease for redevelopment of this historic building for hotel, restaurant and public space.
  • East Harlem 125 th Street Corridor: Closed on another phase of this multi-phased redevelopment project, advancing development of a 19-story building with 300 affordable units. NYCHA: Helped NYCHA realize the preservation of affordable housing, including use of HUD Section 8 programs to fund renovations and allow for private investment and rehabilitation of existing public housing apartments.
  • Hunts Point Market: Finalized amendments to the Fish Market lease, allowing for online seafood sales, and the Meat Market lease, addressing capital repairs for continued operations.

Environmental Law

  • Cost Recovery Lawsuit Against Fossil Fuel Companies: Sued the five largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies seeking damages for the billions of dollars the City must spend on measures to protect against sea level rise and other impacts of climate change.
  • Supporting Affordable Housing and Shelter Goals: Defended several challenges to rezoning actions and homeless shelters advanced to increase the supply of affordable housing and reduce the number of homeless New Yorkers.
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park: Successfully defended against multiple lawsuits challenging elements of the park plan that allow Brooklyn Bridge Park to be financially self-sustaining.
  • Ban on Foam Products: Also successfully defended the City&rsquos ban on single-use foam items such as cups, plates, trays, clamshell containers and packing materials which, after years of litigation, took effect in January 2019.
  • Superfund: Advised City agencies and worked with federal government on investigations and remediation of four federal NYC Superfund sites, with the goals of preserving the City&rsquos remaining industrial waterways, and protecting public health.

Family Court

  • Juvenile Delinquency Prosecution: Continued balancing juveniles&rsquo needs and best interests with protecting the community to promote juvenile rehabilitation with diversion of low-level offenders and assistance to crime victims. Enhanced prosecution of serious felony cases by centralizing the Division&rsquos Major Case Unit and strengthened the dispositional practice.
  • Raise the Age Implementation: Implemented the groundbreaking RTA Phase One, incorporating 16-year-old youths into the juvenile justice practice and working closely with all stakeholders. Appeared in the Youth Part of the Adult Court in all five counties to ensure a smooth transition. Effectuated changes through a doubling of Division staff and enhanced our specialized units as well as training and disposition capacities. Collaborated to launch a centralized court part that hears cases seven days a week and when the Family Court is closed.
  • Interstate Child Support: Continued establishing orders of parentage and child support, and pursued modification and enforcement of existing child support orders on behalf of City residents and out-of-state families. Decentralized case processing on outgoing matters to Brooklyn and Queens, enabling local parents to be seen outside of Manhattan.
  • Community Outreach: Created a strategic team to enhance and broaden community outreach and diversion initiatives. Developed educational presentations based on national juvenile justice trends, adolescent development and juvenile justice outcomes for partner agencies and community organizations to empowering communities.

General Litigation

  • Student Bullying (including Cyberbullying): Entered into a settlement agreeing to train staff to prevent bullying, facilitate reporting of complaints and expedite investigation and resolution of complaints.
  • Facial Recognition Technology: Successfully defended PD&rsquos non-disclosure under FOIL of certain information concerning this investigation technique.
  • Inmate Due Process: Settled a class action by re-incarcerated former inmates who had been required to serve punitive segregation for illegal conduct during prior incarcerations.
  • Polling Site Accessibility: Continue to monitor compliance with a settlement requiring that polling sites be handicapped accessible.

Labor & Employment Law

  • #MeToo Movement & NYC: Worked to review sexual harassment case tracking and training.
  • Best Practices: Liaised with client agencies Citywide to ensure best practices throughout our municipal government.
  • Employment Law Institute: Held the first of its kind &ldquoEmployment Law Institute&rdquo to help in-house attorneys in every agency learn about the latest trending issues in labor & employment law.

Legal Counsel

  • State Legislation for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises: Worked with City colleagues to pass state legislation strengthening the City&rsquos M/WBE program.
  • Charter Revision Commission: Worked with the 2018 Charter Revision Commission to develop three referendum questions (focused on campaign finance and civic engagement) that voters approved in November 2018.
  • School Speed Zones: Liaised with the City Council to reinstate speed cameras around schools rapidly after Albany allowed the program to lapse in July 2018.
  • Design Build: Tagteamed with City colleagues to gain new authority to contract more efficiently and enable the City to: 1) repair the Brooklyn/ Queens Expressway, 2) build jails to replace Rikers Island and 3) complete important New York City Housing Authority repairs.
  • Commercial Waste Zones: Worked with two agencies to draft legislation overhauling the trade waste industry.
  • For-Hire Vehicles: Helped draft local legislation and Taxi & Limosuine Commission rules imposing new requirements for livery and other vehicles operating for hire. Later worked with Administrative Law defending a suit challenging some requirements.

Municipal Finance

  • Bond Transactions: Provided legal services on 42 discrete City bond transactions totaling approximately $17.7 billion to fund City capital projects.
  • Bond Refinancing: Refunded bonds (in approximately eight of the 42 bond transactions) previously issued, resulting in savings of about $841.75 million over the City&rsquos Four-Year Financial Plan.
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy Retrofits Program: Worked with other City agencies to establish the PACE program, a financing vehicle that offers commercial building owners up to 100-percent funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The owners would repay the funding through quarterly property assessments incorporated in the property&rsquos City property tax bill.

Special Federal Litigation

  • Trial Success: Continued Special Fed&rsquos Trial Initiative success tried 43 cases in the calendar year, with win a rate of 83% (if including a $1 verdict).
  • Gender Diversity: Promoted gender diversity in our ranks -- of the 43 trials (tried in pairs with one supervisor in the courtroom), women included 46 or 52% of the trial attorneys women supervised 35 or 81% of the trials and one woman oversees the trial process.
  • New Filings Down: Continued maintaining a drop in new filings (down about 60 percent) since the launching of the Trial Initiative, combining more aggressive litigation and settlement approaches.
  • DOC Settlement: Negotiated a very favorable settlement in Washington v. Department of Correction in which DOC refined notice, re: the basis for prisoner transfers to other facilities, thereby offering more transparency.

Tax & Bankruptcy Litigation

  • Tax Win: Won large case in which the City properly imposed general corporation tax on gain realized by non-domiciliary on sale of an interest in a partnership located in the City.
  • Eminent Domain Used for New Park: Acquired title by eminent domain to property in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens section of Brooklyn, which the community had transformed following the demolition of an unsafe building left vacant for over 20 years. The acquisition ensures that it will flourish as a community garden.
  • Tax Assessment: Won a case via a unanimous First Department decision upholding the City&rsquos policy of separately identifying and assessing tenant-owned private back-up generators. Such installations are uniquely different in terms of function and size.
  • Willets Point Redevelopment Plan: Won rulings in the Eastern and Southern District bankruptcy courts to lift a stay with respect to multiple debtors. The enabled the City to evict a holdover subtenant and embark on a City redevelopment plan.


  • Motion PracticeAccomplishments: Achieved another successful year for Tort motion practice in FY 2018. With over 7,000 new cases commenced, it&rsquos critical that dispositive motions to dismiss are pursued. Approximately 1,725 affirmative dispositive motions were made and, of those decided, the Division secured a 70-percent win rate.
  • Medicare Reporting: Continued a &ldquoplatinum standard of practice&rdquo via the Medicare Compliance and Recovery Unit regarding Medicare reporting and reimbursement. MCRU has collected more than $2.3 million in Medicare reimbursements in 2018, for a grand total of $15.8 million since 2011. This included no judgments entered against the City for non-payment of Medicare settlements.
  • Deposition increase success: Increased the number of depositions in Brooklyn and The Bronx by 23 percent from FY 2017 to FY 2018 following the adding Tort&rsquos new Vertical Units.

Workers' Compensation

  • Revenue Achievements: Recovered revenue of almost $9.8 million this year, accomplished through third-party lines, arbitration and reimbursement through the State Second Injury Fund.
  • Electronic claims system: Continued development of upgrade to our current system which will result in web-based access. Tracking and reporting of claims information will be simplified and streamlined.
  • Agency outreach: Organized a series of meetings and training sessions with our client agencies in order to maintain compliance with the filing requirements of the Workers&rsquo Compensation Board.


Polystyrene was discovered in 1839 by Eduard Simon, an apothecary from Berlin. [9] From storax, the resin of the Oriental sweetgum tree Liquidambar orientalis, he distilled an oily substance, a monomer that he named styrol. Several days later, Simon found that the styrol had thickened into a jelly he dubbed styrol oxide ("Styroloxyd") because he presumed an oxidation. By 1845 Jamaican-born chemist John Buddle Blyth and German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann showed that the same transformation of styrol took place in the absence of oxygen. [10] They called the product "meta styrol" analysis showed that it was chemically identical to Simon's Styroloxyd. [11] In 1866 Marcellin Berthelot correctly identified the formation of meta styrol/Styroloxyd from styrol as a polymerisation process. [12] About 80 years later it was realized that heating of styrol starts a chain reaction that produces macromolecules, following the thesis of German organic chemist Hermann Staudinger (1881–1965). This eventually led to the substance receiving its present name, polystyrene. [ citation needed ]

The company I. G. Farben began manufacturing polystyrene in Ludwigshafen, about 1931, hoping it would be a suitable replacement for die-cast zinc in many applications. Success was achieved when they developed a reactor vessel that extruded polystyrene through a heated tube and cutter, producing polystyrene in pellet form. [ citation needed ]

Otis Ray McIntire (1918-1996) a chemical engineer of Dow Chemical rediscovered a process first patented by Swedish inventor Carl Munters. [13] According to the Science History Institute, "Dow bought the rights to Munters’s method and began producing a lightweight, water-resistant, and buoyant material that seemed perfectly suited for building docks and watercraft and for insulating homes, offices, and chicken sheds." [14] In 1944, Styrofoam was patented. [ citation needed ]

Before 1949, chemical engineer Fritz Stastny (1908–1985) developed pre-expanded PS beads by incorporating aliphatic hydrocarbons, such as pentane. These beads are the raw material for molding parts or extruding sheets. BASF and Stastny applied for a patent that was issued in 1949. The molding process was demonstrated at the Kunststoff Messe 1952 in Düsseldorf. Products were named Styropor. [ citation needed ]

The crystal structure of isotactic polystyrene was reported by Giulio Natta. [15]

In 1954, the Koppers Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, developed expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam under the trade name Dylite. [16] In 1960, Dart Container, the largest manufacturer of foam cups, shipped their first order. [17]

In chemical terms, polystyrene is a long chain hydrocarbon wherein alternating carbon centers are attached to phenyl groups (a derivative of benzene). Polystyrene's chemical formula is (C
8 H
8 )
n it contains the chemical elements carbon and hydrogen. [ citation needed ]

The material's properties are determined by short-range van der Waals attractions between polymers chains. Since the molecules consist of thousands of atoms, the cumulative attractive force between the molecules is large. When heated (or deformed at a rapid rate, due to a combination of viscoelastic and thermal insulation properties), the chains can take on a higher degree of confirmation and slide past each other. This intermolecular weakness (versus the high intramolecular strength due to the hydrocarbon backbone) confers flexibility and elasticity. The ability of the system to be readily deformed above its glass transition temperature allows polystyrene (and thermoplastic polymers in general) to be readily softened and molded upon heating. Extruded polystyrene is about as strong as an unalloyed aluminium but much more flexible and much less dense (1.05 g/cm 3 for polystyrene vs. 2.70 g/cm 3 for aluminium). [ citation needed ]

Production Edit

Polystyrene is an addition polymer that results when styrene monomers interconnect (polymerization). In the polymerization, the carbon-carbon π bond of the vinyl group is broken and a new carbon-carbon σ bond is formed, attaching to the carbon of another styrene monomer to the chain. Since only one kind of monomer is used in its preparation, it is a homopolymer. The newly formed σ bond is stronger than the π bond that was broken, thus it is difficult to depolymerize polystyrene. About a few thousand monomers typically comprise a chain of polystyrene, giving a molecular weight of 100,000–400,000 g/mol. [ citation needed ]

Each carbon of the backbone has tetrahedral geometry, and those carbons that have a phenyl group (benzene ring) attached are stereogenic. If the backbone were to be laid as a flat elongated zig-zag chain, each phenyl group would be tilted forward or backward compared to the plane of the chain. [ citation needed ]

The relative stereochemical relationship of consecutive phenyl groups determines the tacticity, which affects various physical properties of the material. [ citation needed ]

Tacticity Edit

In polystyrene, tacticity describes the extent to which the phenyl group is uniformly aligned (arranged at one side) in the polymer chain. Tacticity has a strong effect on the properties of the plastic. Standard polystyrene is atactic. The diastereomer where all of the phenyl groups are on the same side is called isotactic polystyrene, which is not produced commercially. [ citation needed ]

Atactic polystyrene Edit

The only commercially important form of polystyrene is atactic, in which the phenyl groups are randomly distributed on both sides of the polymer chain. This random positioning prevents the chains from aligning with sufficient regularity to achieve any crystallinity. The plastic has a glass transition temperature Tg of

90 °C. Polymerization is initiated with free radicals. [7]

Syndiotactic polystyrene Edit

Ziegler–Natta polymerization can produce an ordered syndiotactic polystyrene with the phenyl groups positioned on alternating sides of the hydrocarbon backbone. This form is highly crystalline with a Tm (melting point) of 270 °C (518 °F). Syndiotactic polystyrene resin is currently produced under the trade name XAREC by Idemitsu corporation, who use a metallocene catalyst for the polymerisation reaction. [18]

Polystyrene is relatively chemically inert. While it is waterproof and resistant to breakdown by many acids and bases, it is easily attacked by many organic solvents (e.g. it dissolves quickly when exposed to acetone), chlorinated solvents, and aromatic hydrocarbon solvents. Because of its resilience and inertness, it is used for fabricating many objects of commerce. Like other organic compounds, polystyrene burns to give carbon dioxide and water vapor, in addition to other thermal degradation by-products. Polystyrene, being an aromatic hydrocarbon, typically combusts incompletely as indicated by the sooty flame. [ citation needed ]

The process of depolymerizing polystyrene into its monomer, styrene, is called pyrolysis. This involves using high heat and pressure to break down the chemical bonds between each styrene compound. Pyrolysis usually goes up to 430 °C. [19] The high energy cost of doing this has made commercial recycling of polystyrene back into styrene monomer difficult. [ citation needed ]

Organisms Edit

Polystyrene is generally considered to be non-biodegradable. However, certain organisms are able to degrade it, albeit very slowly. [20]

In 2015, researchers discovered that mealworms, the larvae form of the darkling beetle Tenebrio molitor, could digest and subsist healthily on a diet of EPS. [21] [22] About 100 mealworms could consume between 34 and 39 milligrams of this white foam in a day. The droppings of mealworm were found to be safe for use as soil for crops. [21]

In 2016, it was also reported that superworms (Zophobas morio) may eat expanded polystyrene (EPS). [23] A group of high school students in Ateneo de Manila University found that compared to Tenebrio molitor larvae, Zophobas morio larvae may consume greater amounts of EPS over longer periods of time. [24]

The bacterium Pseudomonas putida is capable of converting styrene oil into the biodegradable plastic PHA. [25] [26] [27] This may someday be of use in the effective disposing of polystyrene foam. It is worthy to note the polystyrene must undergo pyrolysis to turn into styrene oil. [ citation needed ]

Density of EPS 16–640 kg/m 3 [28]
Young's modulus (E) 3000–3600 MPa
Tensile strength (st) 46–60 MPa
Elongation at break 3–4%
Charpy impact test 2–5 kJ/m 2
Glass transition temperature 100 °C [29]
Vicat softening point 90 °C [30]
Coefficient of thermal expansion 8×10 −5 /K
Specific heat capacity (c) 1.3 kJ/(kg·K)
Water absorption (ASTM) 0.03–0.1
Decomposition X years, still decaying

Polystyrene is commonly injection molded, vacuum formed, or extruded, while expanded polystyrene is either extruded or molded in a special process. Polystyrene copolymers are also produced these contain one or more other monomers in addition to styrene. In recent years the expanded polystyrene composites with cellulose [31] [32] and starch [33] have also been produced. Polystyrene is used in some polymer-bonded explosives (PBX). [ citation needed ]

Sheet or molded polystyrene Edit

Polystyrene (PS) is used for producing disposable plastic cutlery and dinnerware, CD "jewel" cases, smoke detector housings, license plate frames, plastic model assembly kits, and many other objects where a rigid, economical plastic is desired. Production methods include thermoforming (vacuum forming) and injection molding.

Polystyrene Petri dishes and other laboratory containers such as test tubes and microplates play an important role in biomedical research and science. For these uses, articles are almost always made by injection molding, and often sterilized post-molding, either by irradiation or by treatment with ethylene oxide. Post-mold surface modification, usually with oxygen-rich plasmas, is often done to introduce polar groups. Much of modern biomedical research relies on the use of such products they, therefore, play a critical role in pharmaceutical research. [34]

Thin sheets of polystyrene are used in polystyrene film capacitors as it forms a very stable dielectric, but has largely fallen out of use in favor of polyester.

Foams Edit

Polystyrene foams are 95-98% air. [35] [36] Polystyrene foams are good thermal insulators and are therefore often used as building insulation materials, such as in insulating concrete forms and structural insulated panel building systems. Grey polystyrene foam, incorporating graphite has superior insulation properties. [37]

Carl Munters and John Gudbrand Tandberg of Sweden received a US patent for polystyrene foam as an insulation product in 1935 (USA patent number 2,023,204). [38]

PS foams also exhibit good damping properties, therefore it is used widely in packaging. The trademark Styrofoam by Dow Chemical Company is informally used (mainly US & Canada) for all foamed polystyrene products, although strictly it should only be used for "extruded closed-cell" polystyrene foams made by Dow Chemicals.

Foams are also used for non-weight-bearing architectural structures (such as ornamental pillars).

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) Edit

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam with a normal density range of 11 to 32 kg/m 3 . [39] It is usually white and made of pre-expanded polystyrene beads. The manufacturing process for EPS conventionally begins with the creation of small polystyrene beads. Styrene monomers (and potentially other additives) are suspended in water, where they undergo free-radical addition polymerization. The polystyrene beads formed by this mechanism may have an average diameter of around 200 μm. The beads are then permeated with a "blowing agent", a material that enables the beads to be expanded. Pentane is commonly used as the blowing agent. The beads are added to a continuously agitated reactor with the blowing agent, among other additives, and the blowing agent seeps into pores within each bead. The beads are then expanded using steam. [40]

EPS is used for food containers, molded sheets for building insulation, and packing material either as solid blocks formed to accommodate the item being protected or as loose-fill "peanuts" cushioning fragile items inside boxes. EPS also has been widely used in automotive and road safety applications such as motorcycle helmets and road barriers on automobile race tracks. [41] [42] [43]

A significant portion of all EPS products are manufactured through injection molding. Mold tools tend to be manufactured from steels (which can be hardened and plated), and aluminum alloys. The molds are controlled through a split via a channel system of gates and runners. [44] EPS is colloquially called "styrofoam" in the United States and Canada, an incorrectly applied genericization of Dow Chemical's brand of extruded polystyrene. [45]

EPS in building construction Edit

Sheets of EPS are commonly packaged as rigid panels (Common in Europe is a size of 100 cm x 50 cm, usually depending on an intended type of connection and glue techniques, it is, in fact, 99.5 cm x 49.5 cm or 98 cm x 48 cm less common is 120 x 60 cm size 4 by 8 ft (1.2 by 2.4 m) or 2 by 8 ft (0.61 by 2.44 m) in the United States). Common thicknesses are from 10 mm to 500 mm. Many customizations, additives, and thin additional external layers on one or both sides are often added to help with various properties.

Thermal conductivity is measured according to EN 12667. Typical values range from 0.032 to 0.038 W/(m⋅K) depending on the density of the EPS board. The value of 0.038 W/(m⋅K) was obtained at 15 kg/m 3 while the value of 0.032 W/(m⋅K) was obtained at 40 kg/m 3 according to the datasheet of K-710 from StyroChem Finland. Adding fillers (graphites, aluminum, or carbons) has recently allowed the thermal conductivity of EPS to reach around 0.030–0.034 W/(m⋅K) (as low as 0.029 W/(m⋅K)) and as such has a grey/black color which distinguishes it from standard EPS. Several EPS producers have produced a variety of these increased thermal resistance EPS usage for this product in the UK and EU.

Water vapor diffusion resistance (μ) of EPS is around 30–70.

ICC-ES (International Code Council Evaluation Service) requires EPS boards used in building construction meet ASTM C578 requirements. One of these requirements is that the limiting oxygen index of EPS as measured by ASTM D2863 be greater than 24 volume %. Typical EPS has an oxygen index of around 18 volume % thus, a flame retardant is added to styrene or polystyrene during the formation of EPS.

The boards containing a flame retardant when tested in a tunnel using test method UL 723 or ASTM E84 will have a flame spread index of less than 25 and a smoke-developed index of less than 450. ICC-ES requires the use of a 15-minute thermal barrier when EPS boards are used inside of a building.

According to the EPS-IA ICF organization, the typical density of EPS used for insulated concrete forms (expanded polystyrene concrete) is 1.35 to 1.80 pounds per cubic foot (21.6 to 28.8 kg/m 3 ). This is either Type II or Type IX EPS according to ASTM C578. EPS blocks or boards used in building construction are commonly cut using hot wires. [46]

Extruded polystyrene (XPS) Edit

Extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) consists of closed cells. It offers improved surface roughness, higher stiffness and reduced thermal conductivity. The density range is about 28–45 kg/m 3 . [ citation needed ]

Extruded polystyrene material is also used in crafts and model building, in particular architectural models. Because of the extrusion manufacturing process, XPS does not require facers to maintain its thermal or physical property performance. Thus, it makes a more uniform substitute for corrugated cardboard. Thermal conductivity varies between 0.029 and 0.039 W/(m·K) depending on bearing strength/density and the average value is

Water vapor diffusion resistance (μ) of XPS is around 80–250.

Commonly extruded polystyrene foam materials include:

    , also known as Blue Board, produced by Dow Chemical Company
  • Depron, a thin insulation sheet also used for model building [47]

Water absorption of polystyrene foams Edit

Although it is a closed-cell foam, both expanded and extruded polystyrene are not entirely waterproof or vapor proof. [48] In expanded polystyrene there are interstitial gaps between the expanded closed-cell pellets that form an open network of channels between the bonded pellets, and this network of gaps can become filled with liquid water. If the water freezes into ice, it expands and can cause polystyrene pellets to break off from the foam. Extruded polystyrene is also permeable by water molecules and can not be considered a vapor barrier. [49]

Water-logging commonly occurs over a long period in polystyrene foams that are constantly exposed to high humidity or are continuously immersed in water, such as in hot tub covers, in floating docks, as supplemental flotation under boat seats, and for below-grade exterior building insulation constantly exposed to groundwater. [50] Typically an exterior vapor barrier such as impermeable plastic sheeting or a sprayed-on coating is necessary to prevent saturation.

Oriented polystyrene Edit

Oriented polystyrene (OPS) is produced by stretching extruded PS film, improving visibility through the material by reducing haziness and increasing stiffness. This is often used in packaging where the manufacturer would like the consumer to see the enclosed product. Some benefits to OPS are that it is less expensive to produce than other clear plastics such as polypropylene (PP), (PET), and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), and it is less hazy than HIPS or PP. The main disadvantage of OPS is that it is brittle, and will crack or tear easily.

Ordinary (homopolymeric) polystyrene has an excellent property profile about transparency, surface quality and stiffness. Its range of applications is further extended by copolymerization and other modifications (blends e.g. with PC and syndiotactic polystyrene). [51] : 102–104 Several copolymers are used based on styrene: The crispiness of homopolymeric polystyrene is overcome by elastomer-modified styrene-butadiene copolymers. Copolymers of styrene and acrylonitrile (SAN) are more resistant to thermal stress, heat and chemicals than homopolymers and are also transparent. Copolymers called ABS have similar properties and can be used at low temperatures, but they are opaque.

Styrene-butane co-polymers Edit

Styrene-butane co-polymers can be produced with a low butene content. Styrene-butane co-polymers include PS-I and SBC (see below), both co-polymers are impact resistant. PS-I is prepared by graft co-polymerization, SBC by anionic block co-polymerization, which makes it transparent in case of appropriate block size. [52]

If styrene-butane co-polymer has a high butylene content, styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) is formed.

The impact strength of styrene-butadiene co-polymers is based on phase separation, polystyrene and poly-butane are not soluble in each other (see Flory-Huggins theory). Co-polymerization creates a boundary layer without complete mixing. The butadiene fractions (the "rubber phase") assemble to form particles embedded in a polystyrene matrix. A decisive factor for the improved impact strength of styrene-butadiene copolymers is their higher absorption capacity for deformation work. Without applied force, the rubber phase initially behaves like a filler. Under tensile stress, crazes (microcracks) are formed, which spread to the rubber particles. The energy of the propagating crack is then transferred to the rubber particles along its path. A large number of cracks give the originally rigid material a laminated structure. The formation of each lamella contributes to the consumption of energy and thus to an increase in elongation at break. Polystyrene homo-polymers deform when a force is applied until they break. Styrene-butane co-polymers do not break at this point, but begin to flow, solidify to tensile strength and only break at much higher elongation. [53] : 426

With a high proportion of polybutadiene, the effect of the two phases is reversed. Styrene-butadiene rubber behaves like an elastomer but can be processed like a thermoplastic.

Impact-resistant polystyrene (PS-I) Edit

PS-I (impact resistant polystyrene) consists of a continuous polystyrene matrix and a rubber phase dispersed therein. It is produced by polymerization of styrene in the presence of polybutadiene dissolved (in styrene). Polymerization takes place simultaneously in two ways: [54]

    : The growing polystyrene chain reacts with a double bond of the polybutadiene. As a result, several polystyrene chains are attached to one polybutadiene molecule. : Styrene polymerizes to polystyrene and does not react with the present polybutadiene.

The polybutadiene particles (rubber particles) in PS-I usually have a diameter of 0.5 - 9 μm. They thereby scatter visible light, making PS-I opaque. [55] : 476 The material is stable (no further phase segregation occurs) because polybutadiene and polystyrene are chemically linked. [56] Historically, PS-I was first produced by simple mixing (physical mixing, called blending) of polybutadiene and polystyrene. This way, a polymer blend is produced, not a copolymer. However, the polyblend material has considerably worse properties. [55] : 476

Styrene-butadiene block co-polymers Edit

SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymer) is made by anionic block copolymerization and consists of three blocks: [57]


S represents in the figure the styrene repeat unit, B the butadiene repeat unit. However, the middle block often does not consist of such depicted butane homo-polymer but of a styrene-butadiene co-polymer:


By using a statistical copolymer at this position, the polymer becomes less susceptible to cross-linking and flows better in the melt. For the production of SBS, the first styrene is homopolymerized via anionic copolymerization. Typically, an organometallic compound such as butyllithium is used as a catalyst. Butadiene is then added and after styrene again its polymerization. The catalyst remains active during the whole process (for which the used chemicals must be of high purity). The molecular weight distribution of the polymers is very low (polydispersity in the range of 1.05, the individual chains have thus very similar lengths). The length of the individual blocks can be adjusted by the ratio of catalyst to monomer. The size of the rubber sections, in turn, depends on the block length. The production of small structures (smaller than the wavelength of the light) ensure transparency. In contrast to PS-I, however, the block copolymer does not form any particles but has a lamellar structure.

Styrene-butadiene rubber Edit

Styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) is produced like PS-I by graft copolymerization, but with a lower styrene content. Styrene-butadiene rubber thus consists of a rubber matrix with a polystyrene phase dispersed therein. [56] Unlike PS-I and SBC, it is not a thermoplastic, but an elastomer. Within the rubber phase, the polystyrene phase is assembled into domains. This causes physical cross-linking on a microscopic level. When the material is heated above the glass transition point, the domains disintegrate, the cross-linking is temporarily suspended and the material can be processed like a thermoplastic. [58]

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene Edit

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a material that is stronger than pure polystyrene.

Others Edit

SMA is a copolymer with maleic anhydride. Styrene can be copolymerized with other monomers for example, divinylbenzene can be used for cross-linking the polystyrene chains to give the polymer used in solid phase peptide synthesis. Styrene-acrylonitrile resin (SAN) has a greater thermal resistance than pure styrene.

Production Edit

Polystyrene foams are produced using blowing agents that form bubbles and expand the foam. In expanded polystyrene, these are usually hydrocarbons such as pentane, which may pose a flammability hazard in manufacturing or storage of newly manufactured material, but have relatively mild environmental impact. [ citation needed ] Extruded polystyrene is usually made with hydrofluorocarbons (HFC-134a), [59] which have global warming potentials of approximately 1000–1300 times that of carbon dioxide. [60]

Non-biodegradable Edit

Waste polystyrene takes hundreds of years to biodegrade and is resistant to photo-oxidation. [61]

Litter Edit

Coastal debris including polystyrene

Animals do not recognize polystyrene foam as an artificial material and may even mistake it for food. [62] Polystyrene foam blows in the wind and floats on water, due to its low specific gravity. It can have serious effects on the health of birds or marine animals that swallow significant quantities. [62] Juvenile rainbow trout exposed to polystyrene fragments have produced toxic effects by causing substantial histomorphometrical changes. [63]

Reducing Edit

Restricting the use of foamed polystyrene takeout food packaging is a priority of many solid waste environmental organisations. [64] Efforts have been made to find alternatives to polystyrene, especially foam in restaurant settings. The original impetus was to eliminate chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), which was a former component of foam.

United States Edit

In 1987, Berkeley, California, banned CFC food containers. [65] The following year, Suffolk County, New York, became the first U.S. jurisdiction to ban polystyrene in general. [66] However, legal challenges by the Society of the Plastics Industry [67] kept the ban from going into effect until at last it was delayed when the Republican and Conservative parties gained the majority of the county legislature. [68] In the meantime, Berkeley became the first city to ban all foam food containers. [69] As of 2006, about one hundred localities in the United States, including Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco had some sort of ban on polystyrene foam in restaurants. For instance, in 2007 Oakland, California, required restaurants to switch to disposable food containers that would biodegrade if added to food compost. [70] In 2013, San Jose became reportedly the largest city in the country to ban polystyrene foam food containers. [71] Some communities have implemented wide polystyrene bans, such as Freeport, Maine, which did so in 1990. [72] In 1988, the first U.S. ban of general polystyrene foam was enacted in Berkeley, California. [69]

On July 1, 2015, New York City became the largest city in the United States to attempt to prohibit the sale, possession, and distribution of single-use polystyrene foam (the initial decision was overturned on appeal). [73] In San Francisco, supervisors approved the toughest ban on "Styrofoam" (EPS) in the US which went into effect January 1, 2017. The city's Department of the Environment can make exceptions for certain uses like shipping medicines at prescribed temperatures. [74]

The U.S. Green Restaurant Association does not allow polystyrene foam to be used as part of its certification standard. [75] Several green leaders, from the Dutch Ministry of the Environment to Starbucks's Green Team, advise people to reduce their environmental harm by using reusable coffee cups. [76]

In March 2019, Maryland banned polystyrene foam food containers and became the first state in the country to pass a food container foam ban through the state legislature. Maine was the first state to officially get a foam food container ban onto the books. In May 2019, Maryland Governor Hogan allowed the foam ban (House Bill 109) to become law without a signature making Maryland the second state to have a food container foam ban on the books, but is the first one to take effect on July 1, 2020. [77] [78] [79] [80]

In September 2020, the New Jersey state legislature voted to ban disposable foam food containers and cups made of polystyrene foam. [81]

Outside the United States Edit

China banned expanded polystyrene takeout/takeaway containers and tableware around 1999. However, compliance has been a problem and, in 2013, the Chinese plastics industry was lobbying for the ban's repeal. [82]

India and Taiwan also banned polystyrene-foam food-service ware before 2007. [83]

The government of Zimbabwe, through its Environmental Management Agency (EMA), banned polystyrene containers (popularly called 'kaylite' in the country), under Statutory Instrument 84 of 2012 (Plastic Packaging and Plastic Bottles) (Amendment) Regulations, 2012 (No 1.) [84] [85]

The city of Vancouver, Canada, has announced its Zero Waste 2040 plan in 2018. The city will introduce bylaw amendments to prohibit business license holders from serving prepared food in polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers, beginning 1 June 2019. [86]

Fiji passed the Environmental Management Bill in December 2020. Imports of polystyrene products was banned on January 2021. [87]

Recycling Edit

In general, polystyrene is not accepted in curbside collection recycling programs and is not separated and recycled where it is accepted. In Germany, polystyrene is collected, as a consequence of the packaging law (Verpackungsverordnung) that requires manufacturers to take responsibility for recycling or disposing of any packaging material they sell.

Most polystyrene products are currently not recycled due to the lack of incentive to invest in the compactors and logistical systems required. Due to the low density of polystyrene foam, it is not economical to collect. However, if the waste material goes through an initial compaction process, the material changes density from typically 30 kg/m 3 to 330 kg/m 3 and becomes a recyclable commodity of high value for producers of recycled plastic pellets. Expanded polystyrene scrap can be easily added to products such as EPS insulation sheets and other EPS materials for construction applications many manufacturers cannot obtain sufficient scrap because of collection issues. When it is not used to make more EPS, foam scrap can be turned into products such as clothes hangers, park benches, flower pots, toys, rulers, stapler bodies, seedling containers, picture frames, and architectural molding from recycled PS. [88] As of 2016, around 100 tonnes of EPS are recycled every month in the UK. [89]

Recycled EPS is also used in many metal casting operations. Rastra is made from EPS that is combined with cement to be used as an insulating amendment in the making of concrete foundations and walls. American manufacturers have produced insulating concrete forms made with approximately 80% recycled EPS since 1993.

Incineration Edit

If polystyrene is properly incinerated at high temperatures (up to 1000 °C [90] ) and with plenty of air [90] (14 m 3 /kg [ citation needed ] ), the chemicals generated are water, carbon dioxide, and possibly small amounts of residual halogen-compounds from flame-retardants. [90] If only incomplete incineration is done, there will also be leftover carbon soot and a complex mixture of volatile compounds. [91] [ better source needed ] According to the American Chemistry Council, when polystyrene is incinerated in modern facilities, the final volume is 1% of the starting volume most of the polystyrene is converted into carbon dioxide, water vapor, and heat. Because of the amount of heat released, it is sometimes used as a power source for steam or electricity generation. [90] [92]

When polystyrene was burned at temperatures of 800–900 °C (the typical range of a modern incinerator), the products of combustion consisted of "a complex mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from alkyl benzenes to benzoperylene. Over 90 different compounds were identified in combustion effluents from polystyrene." [93] [ better source needed ] The American National Bureau of Standards Center for Fire Research found 57 chemical by-products released during the combustion of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam. [94]

Health Edit

The American Chemistry Council, formerly known as the Chemical Manufacturers' Association, writes:

Based on scientific tests over five decades, government safety agencies have determined that polystyrene is safe for use in foodservice products. For example, polystyrene meets the stringent standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Commission/European Food Safety Authority for use in packaging to store and serve food. The Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department recently reviewed the safety of serving various foods in polystyrene foodservice products and reached the same conclusion as the U.S. FDA. [95]

From 1999 to 2002, a comprehensive review of the potential health risks associated with exposure to styrene was conducted by a 12-member international expert panel selected by the Harvard Center for Risk Assessment. The scientists had expertise in toxicology, epidemiology, medicine, risk analysis, pharmacokinetics, and exposure assessment. The Harvard study reported that styrene is naturally present in trace quantities in foods such as strawberries, beef, and spices, and is naturally produced in the processing of foods such as wine and cheese. The study also reviewed all the published data on the quantity of styrene contributing to the diet due to migration of food packaging and disposable food contact articles, and concluded that risk to the general public from exposure to styrene from foods or food-contact applications (such as polystyrene packaging and foodservice containers) was at levels too low to produce adverse effects. [96]

Polystyrene is commonly used in containers for food and drinks. The styrene monomer (from which polystyrene is made) is a cancer suspect agent. [97] Styrene is "generally found in such low levels in consumer products that risks aren't substantial". [98] Polystyrene which is used for food contact may not contain more than 1% (0.5% for fatty foods) of styrene by weight. [99] Styrene oligomers in polystyrene containers used for food packaging have been found to migrate into the food. [100] Another Japanese study conducted on wild-type and AhR-null mice found that the styrene trimer, which the authors detected in cooked polystyrene container-packed instant foods, may increase thyroid hormone levels. [101]

Whether polystyrene can be microwaved with food is controversial. Some containers may be safely used in a microwave, but only if labeled as such. [102] Some sources suggest that foods containing carotene (vitamin A) or cooking oils must be avoided. [103]

Because of the pervasive use of polystyrene, these serious health related issues remain topical. [104]

Fire hazards Edit

Like other organic compounds, polystyrene is flammable. Polystyrene is classified according to DIN4102 as a "B3" product, meaning highly inflammable or "Easily Ignited." As a consequence, although it is an efficient insulator at low temperatures, its use is prohibited in any exposed installations in building construction if the material is not flame-retardant. [ citation needed ] It must be concealed behind drywall, sheet metal, or concrete. [105] Foamed polystyrene plastic materials have been accidentally ignited and caused huge fires and losses of life, for example at the Düsseldorf International Airport and in the Channel Tunnel (where polystyrene was inside a railway carriage that caught fire). [106]

Watch the video: JD Insider. Foam Ban (September 2021).