In Michigan, the Dart Container Company is one of the largest employers in Mason and surrounding counties. Started by a World War Two vet, the family-owned company employs over fifteen thousand people throughout the state, and in other states, and has been a mainstay for picnics and barbeques for the past sixty years. They are the main manufacturer of plastic utensils, plastic cup lids, and the ubiquitous styrofoam cup that holds everything from soda pop to beer to coffee, for a busy nation that’s constantly moving around. The corporation estimates it produces more than fifty million white foam cups every six months, most for American consumption — and disposal.
But today the company faces a raft of charges that it is a major environmental polluter, and cities and counties across the country are creating laws to ban or severely limit the use of the familiar white foam cup and its handy plastic lid. The trend is all towards disposing of disposables.
How is the Dart family business responding to this threat?
When Maryland passed a ban on styrofoam food containers for takeout, the company shut down two facilities in the state — putting around ninety people out of work. Then when they threatened to close all their facilities in the San Diego area, the city council quietly stopped enforcing their styrofoam ban.
The company continues to produce styrofoam products by the millions.