An especially offensive disposable

March 20, 2012

Stamp out Styrofoam 

Cups, plates and other products made of polystyrene (IE Styrofoam) show up at parties everywhere.  But maybe it’s time to tell them they’re not welcome anymore.  Consider:

  • Polystyrene is made of petroleum.  ‘Nuff said.
  • Polystyrene is non-biodegradable; it persists for a long time in the environment.  It’s especially troublesome in the ocean, where it doesn’t break down but just breaks up into small pieces which then enter the marine food chain.
  • Polystyrene is bulky, so it fills up landfills – meaning new landfills are needed sooner.  That bulkiness also means more garbage bags and more trips for the garbage truck.
  • Polystyrene is recyclable – but don’t be fooled.  Because it’s so bulky, it’s expensive to transport and very few jurisdictions actually do recycle it; most just dump it into the landfill.

The best solution?  The first of the three Rs – reduce – is once again the best strategy.  Try to avoid using disposables altogether, but when their use is unavoidable, choose paper products instead: at least they’re compostable or recyclable.

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