Plastics: Can’t Live With ‘Em. Can We Live Without ‘Em?

Art Graham is the very model of a socially responsible businessman. His business diverts garbage from the landfill, his plants obey emmissions guidelines to the letter, and a framed certificate from the former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) director William Reilly, commending him for service to the environment, hangs in the lobby of his factory. But here’s the catch: His business isn’t making compost, rehabilitating discarded wine bottles, or being entrepreneurial in any of the other ways beloved by environmentalists. His business is melting and reshaping polystyrene, better know by the brand name Styrofoam, into plastic “popcorn” shipping pellets.