Mayor Bloomberg’s Newest Target: Styrofoam

In our last post, we discussed brands whose names have become synonymous with the products they offer (even when other companies sell similar or identical products). Styrofoam (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical) is one of those brands–and we have a feeling the company’s PR department, if such a thing exists, isn’t too happy with the latest news about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Seems that Mayor Mike (also known as El Bloombito) might take steps to ban Styrofoam cups and containers in all city businesses as part of a big recycling initiative. You’re probably aware that Styrofoam has a bad reputation due to the fact that it does not decompose and is considered by the FDA to be a “a possible human carcinogen”. Many products containing “expanded polystyrene”, the most environmentally unfriendly element in the mix, weren’t created by Dow at all–but people still refer to them as “Styrofoam.”

In fact, if you Google the word you’ll probably see a whole lot of petitions like this one urging companies, particularly restaurants, to stop using the stuff. It’s a bit of a branding conundrum.

Some recycling providers are trying to change the public’s perception of the white stuff by offering “Styrofoam recycling” services (not sure how that would work), but Bloomberg is hardly the only city official considering a ban–the city of San Jose, for example, recently considered banning any food products containing expanded polystyrene.

Complain about “nanny state” Bloomberg all you want–but it’s hard to argue in favor of an unhealthy product with a terrible reputation.