The Instigator
dragonfire1414
Pro (for)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
32 Points

Bill: Banning the production of all Styrofoam packaging peanuts.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/3/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,596 times Debate No: 7665
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (9)

 

dragonfire1414

Pro

This will be a short, hypothetical debate on weather to approve the bill that i am proposing, I stand on the affirmative. It is the job of the negative to show why this bill should not become a law, and I will attempt to show that it should be a law. Here is the full bill and conditions.

1: The United States will ban all production of styrofoam packaging peanuts.
2: Fines for all violations will be determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
3: Fines can not exeed $500,000, nor be less than $50,000 (per violation).
4: Peanuts produced prior to enactment may be utilized.

Please remember that this is hypothetical, this is a bill I debated in Student Congress. Here is my speech.

Styrofoam packaging peanuts are harmful and should be discontinued, which is why I firmly support this bill.

Point A: Ecological dangers of Styrofoam. Styrofoam takes 500 years to break down and can cause starvation in birds and marine wildlife who mistake small bits of it for food. Styrofoam also creates 1,369 tons of waste per day. Furthermore, Styrofoam waste takes up 25-30% of our nation's landfill space. If this bill was approved, there would be less waste, leaving more space in landfills and becoming safer for marine wildlife and birds.

Point B: Impacts of Styrofoam products, including packaging peanuts, on humans. Benzene is the most toxic of all the chemical components of styrofoam and is listed on the Hazardous Substances List because it is a known carcinogen, mutagen, and is flammable. Some of the effects the chemicals in packaging peanuts have caused are: convulsions, comas, death, and leukemia. Another hazardous product in Styrofoam is Styrene. Exposure to styrene has caused learning impairments, brain damage, cancer, shortened lifespan, and death. By banning packaging peanuts from being created in the future, the lives of many workers in Styrofoam factories would be saved, which shows that this bill should be approved.
RoyLatham

Con

The resolution does not ban importation or use of styrofoam[tm] pellets. Therefore, the resolution if adopted will only result in the styrofoam pellets being imported for use rather than manufactured. None of the claimed environmental hazards, if true, would be avoided. However, the balance of trade deficit would be made worse because money to buy the commodity would be sent overseas. Domestic employment would be lost as the jobs are sent overseas. Thus there would be no environmental benefit, but money and jobs would be lost to overseas producers.

Point A: Because styrofoam takes so long to break down it poses no significant hazard. It is virtually inert. Compare it to rocks. Rocks take millions of years to break down, yet rocks pose no hazard at all. In fact, styrofoam is so nearly inert it is used a soil additive to keep soils light.

"A continuing aim of agricultural research is to find materials with good and persistent action in the soil, such as is observed in humus. It is possible to attain this goal by using expanded plastics. Thus, for instance, styrofoam, is suitable for permanent improvement of heavy soils structure and garden mixes ..." http://www.actahort.org...

It is not true that styrofoam takes up 25-30% of landfill space. The total amount of waste is in the US is about 56 tons/yr x 300 million people = 16800 million tons/yr. Pro says styrofoam is 1,369 x 365 = about 0.5 million tons/yr. Therefore styrofoam is only about one part in 32,000 of the total waste. http://www.cleanair.org... Moreover, if styrofoam were not used, something else would take its place.

Pro provides no evidence of a wildlife problem.

Point B: Many manufacturing processes use hazardous materials. Pro provides no evidence whatsoever that workers are inadequately protected from the potential dangers. If they are not, then OSHA is not doing its job and should be fixed.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 1
dragonfire1414

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. As a guide for all those judging, I will be defending my case and attacking my opponent's at the same time.

As for the issue of importation of Styrofoam packaging peanuts: There is currently not a great demand for Styrofoam packaging peanuts, so why would we import packaging peanuts when we can re-use them?

Opponent's point A: My opponent states that Styrofoam packaging peanuts pose no significant hazard. This claim is completely false. I have stated that Styrofoam causes starvation in birds and marine wildlife. Another hazard that comes with producing Styrofoam is the Dihydrogen monoxide gas, which contributes to the greenhouse effect, and kills thousands of people each year, according to the Coalition to Ban Dihydromonoxide. Considering all of this, it would be ridiculous to consider Styrofoam peanuts as harmless as "rocks". The resolution is to ban packaging peanuts, not Styrofoam altogether, so Styrofoam additives would still be legal. (The intent of this bill is to lessen impacts of Styrofoam by banning peanuts, not to ban Styrofoam.)

As for the landfill space, I did not do the math myself, but I got it from a link, so it actually is accurate. (bss.sfsu.edu) "Our nation averages 547,945 tons of garbage per day and Styrofoam products make up 0.25% of this weight. It sounds a little more impressive when that comes out to 1,369 tons. Don't forget, Styrofoam is pretty light-weight. So, by volume Styrofoam waste takes up 25-30% of our nation's landfill space."
Styrofoam actually does take up significant landfill space, and by banning production of packaging peanuts, we would be reducing it.

I am running out of space, so I will address the last point very briefly.

Impact on workers: Cyanide is produced by manufacturing Styrofoam, according to the Journal of Emergency Nursing. Cyanide is a toxic chemical, and an occupation listed under "Risk of Styrofoam poisoning" is "plastic worker".
RoyLatham

Con

Pro asserts that there is no significant demand for styrofoam packaging peanuts. If so, the resolution is moot because there is no significant problem. We shouldn't pass pointless laws whose only effect is to ban a product useful in certain applications.

Pro made the claim that Styrofoam causes starvation of wildlife. I challenged Pro to back up his claim with data showing it is a significant problem. Pro bears the burden of proof. He just reasserted his claim without providing any proof. It's not just proving that styrofoam is a problem to wildlife, but that styrofoam peanuts in particular are a problem.

"Dihydro monoxide" is another name for water. The Coalition to Ban Dihydro Monoxide is a hoax popularized by a 14-year old who collected signatures on a petition to ban it. http://en.wikipedia.org...

I could not find any information on the bss.sfsu.edu regarding Styrofoam. Its a liberal arts school with no authority on the subject. I gave accurate numbers from a government web site. The government says that packaging materials of all types are a little less than a third of all waste, so it's not possible that Styrofoam peanuts are 25-30%. While Styrofoam is light, after a few hundred tons of stuff is piled on top of it in a land fill, it will compress nicely.

Citing risks to workers does not equate to there being a significant problem. Many manufacturing processes use dangerous substances that pose risks if improperly handled. For example, steel workers *risk* being burned if they mishandle molten steel. It doesn't mean that they do so. Pro must provide proof that harm actually occurs from out-of-control manufacturing.

Because Styrofoam is inert, like rocks, it is great stuff for the environment. It is used as a soil amendment for growing vegetables. It can be recycled. It is light weight so it saves energy by lowering the energy used for shipping. It compresses in landfills. It is manufactured safely. Hooray for Styrofoam!
Debate Round No. 2
dragonfire1414

Pro

I thank my worthy opponent for accepting this debate and providing exceptional rebuttals.

1: My opponent conceded that there is not a great demand for Styrofoam packaging peanuts, so trade deficit would not be in danger.

2: I do agree that packaging peanuts are useful in certain situations, and my opponent has stated himself that packaging materials (much of which is packaging peanuts) creates less than 33% of all waste. If you put this together, you see that by banning PRODUCTION of new packaging peanuts, we would create less waste and STILL be able to re-use Styrofoam packaging peanuts. (about 30% is re-used now, we would raise that number and help the environment by creating less waste.)

3: I was completely unaware that the Coalition to Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide was not as credible as I thought it was, rendering my statistics useless, so I must concede that point.

As for the waste created by Styrofoam, see rebuttal #2

4: There are risks to Styrofoam workers, but not a significant number of people have been affected, to my knowledge, so I must concede that point.

5: I must disagree with my opponent on his comment about Styrofoam peanuts being "great stuff for the environment". Kevin Dick of Chicago's Delta Institute points out that although Styrofoam can be recycled (Backing up rebuttal #2), the environmental impacts are negative. I do not have exact numbers on how many animals have been affected, but it still poses a danger to the environment by creating waste, and still does affect animals negatively, even if I do not have exact numbers, so I do not see why we should NOT approve this bill, considering that contrary to my opponents conclusion in round 2, Styrofoam is NOT good for the environment, and Styrofoam DOES have an impact on landfills.

6: Considering all of this, I see no reason why this bill should not be approved considering the only benefit is using them, and we would still use them, except they would be obtained through recycling.
RoyLatham

Con

Thanks to Pro for a debate on a very timely topic.

The main reason why Styrofoam packaging has been banned (by the various People's Republics within California, for example) is that it doesn't deteriorate quickly. That puts it in the same category with safe materials like rocks and glass bottles. Things that deteriorate produce methane and noxious by-products.

1. Pro made the claim that there was no significant demand for packaging peanuts, and I argued that *if* Pro's claim is true, then the resolution fails. It fails because then there is no significant problem to be solved and we should not ban products that good, although limited uses. I didn't concede it was true.

2. Pro says that there is little demand for packaging peanuts, yet claims that "that packaging materials (much of which is packaging peanuts) creates less than 33% of all waste." Pro needs to speed more time in landfill dumps. It's apparent that landfills are not characterized by great drifts of packaging peanuts. In any case, Pro bears the burden of proof and has provided none.

If 30% of Styrofoam peanuts are recycled, then the 70% of new peanuts required will be imported. The net effect is to move jobs and commerce overseas. the resolution only bans production in the U.S.

3. Pro granted the point about water (dihydro monoxide) not being toxic.

Pro never linked data about the volume of Styrofoam peanut waste. I used reliable government data. Pro failed to rebut the point that Styrofoam, while light, is highly compressible in landfills, given the heavy overburden.

4. Pro grants that there is no evidence of risk being translated to worker harm.

We should not ban Styrofoam packaging because it is inert and, therefore, environmentally friendly. It is lightweight and that saves fuel in transporting goods. It recycles better than alternatives. There is no evidence of significant harm in manufacture, use, or disposal. The resolution would move jobs overseas.

Negated.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
I was asking what should be used in the place of styrofoam.
Posted by dragonfire1414 8 years ago
dragonfire1414
Thank you for your input, Maikuru.
Posted by Maikuru 8 years ago
Maikuru
This was an enjoyable read with good cases on both sides. In the end, though, Pro did not provide a convincing argument on the usefulness of the bill.
Posted by dragonfire1414 8 years ago
dragonfire1414
And how exactly am I an idiot? I do not believe I have posted anything idiotic on this website.
Posted by Colucci 8 years ago
Colucci
I'm not trying to blunt but you are completely idiotic *sigh*
Posted by dragonfire1414 8 years ago
dragonfire1414
yeah congress is cool. i only debated it twice though, once at a novice tournament and once a quals. i just don't like the fact that you don't have much time to research the bills.
Posted by Epicism 8 years ago
Epicism
Congress is fun. My favorite bills (that I always made a motion on... always!) were Hawaii independence and Abolishing birthright citizenship.
Posted by dragonfire1414 8 years ago
dragonfire1414
What I am proposing is (hypothetically) passing a bill that will ban production of packaging peanuts, and it is the job of the con to prove why this bill should not be passed. I am not sure if I understood your question.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
What do you propose as an alternative?
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Jake4d 8 years ago
Jake4d
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by studentathletechristian8 8 years ago
studentathletechristian8
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:16 
Vote Placed by RacH3ll3 8 years ago
RacH3ll3
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by Maikuru 8 years ago
Maikuru
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by grayron 8 years ago
grayron
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by wpfairbanks 8 years ago
wpfairbanks
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by dragonfire1414 8 years ago
dragonfire1414
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
dragonfire1414RoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07