Patchogue’s ban on Styrofoam starts this Thursday, Sept. 6, in the village.

The ban includes, but is not limited to, styrofoam cups and carry-out containers.

“The ban is being implemented as part of Patchogue’s continuing efforts to provide a cleaner, improved, quality of life for its residents and guests and to protect the environment in Patchogue,” says Village Trustee Joseph Keyes, who helped spearhead the effort.

Opinion: Suffolk should follow Patchogue’s lead on banning Styrofoam

More from Joseph Keyes:

Expanded Polystyrene, aka Styrofoam, is a product that has been used widely throughout the world for a great number of purposes since the late 1940’s.  Purposes ranging from building insulation to food storage.  It has become a popular choice product for commercial, industrial, and residential.  It’s light, practical, relatively inexpensive, and readily available.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the EPA and the US Dept of Health and Human Services have established styrene as a possible human carcinogen, whose Styrofoam molecules migrate into food and drinks.

Because Styrofoam is light, and floats, it breaks into small pieces which are commonly mistaken for foods and ingested by birds and marine life. It is now considered a main component of marine debris, is the primary source of urban litter, and is the main pollutant of oceans, bays, and other U.S. water sources.  It is estimated that Styrofoam occupies 30% of all landfill space, and is not biodegradable; it will still be here hundreds of years from now.

Styrofoam lasts virtually forever, is a non-sustainable resource, and its production creates heavy pollution.  57 different chemical by-products are released during the creation of Styrofoam, polluting the air.

Microwaving Styrofoam causes the release of the toxic chemicals.

In America, we throw away more than 25 billion Styrofoam cups a year, enough to circle the earth 436 times!

So, why am I telling you all of this?  I’m telling you all of this because in the Village of Patchogue, we have taken a step toward protecting you, and our environment, from the ‘bad news’ of Styrofoam.

Earlier this year, the current administration, under the leadership of Mayor Paul Pontieri, and at the recommendation of the PEP (Protecting the Environment in Patchogue) committee, passed legislation which prohibits the use of Styrofoam products within village limits.

The ban takes effect on Sept 6. We believe that this is a helpful, relatively painless, step, to take to promote a cleaner, healthier environment for us to visit, work, shop, and live.