Do you realize Americans used and threw away 2.5 billion Styrofoam cups last year!
The landfills also bulged from the millions of Styrofoam food containers, packing peanuts, etc. With so many environmentally sound alternatives – especially in food packaging – why do we tolerate so much Styrofoam?
That’s simple … it’s cheap. But not if you consider all the other costs:
- Exposure to Styrene, the major component of Styrofoam, has been found to cause irritation to skin, eyes and the upper respiratory tract.
- Production of Styrofoam causes air pollution and its by-products result in substantial waste, which potentially could leach into underground water sources.
- The U.S. government announced earlier this year that styrene is “reasonably anticipated” to be a human carcinogen. Heating up food in Styrofoam can cause toxic chemicals to seep out.
The question is, what can you do about Styrofoam?
First, if you’re ambitious, send an email to your city, county and state government representatives and tell them to support a ban on Styrofoam. Here’s a list of cities and counties that have passed laws forbidding the use of Styrofoam products: nochicagofoam.com
Second, complain to the restaurant when it hands you the “doggy bag” with your leftovers inside a Styrofoam container. Ask them to use compostable containers.
Third, stop buying any Styrofoam products, including plates, cups, bowls, etc.
Instead, you can purchase eco-friendly food containers made from various crop by-products, such as wheat, bamboo and sugar cane, which are all compostable. Of the three, look for wheat-based as wheat uses the least amount of resources to grow.
One of the leading molded fiber container producers, Bridge-Gate Alliance Group, has a full range of compostable serving ware made from wheat by-products – 100 percent renewable resources.
As exemplified by companies such as Bridge-Gate, there are healthy alternatives to Styrofoam. But Americans will have to make a choice, and raise their voice, to effect change.