Like the rest of us, you know styrofoam is bad and you poo-poo its’ use in take-out containers and packing peanuts. BUT.. what are you really doing about it in your personal life??
We can shake our heads as much as we want but that’s not going to change the fact that styrofoam is a cheap, readily available, convenient packaging material that will continue to be used until THE PEOPLE say no way. Styrofoam is one of those sneaky little materials that has worked its way into every corner of our lives. (see below). The trickle down effect on our health and environment is just awful. Styrofoam leeches into our hot drinks and foods (never microwave in styrofoam) and circulates in our bloodstream. And since it never, EVER, EVER decomposes, it winds up in our oceans as food (a.k.a. nuggets of death) to the marine life. The cycle of harm continues, because then we eat the fish who have eaten the styrofoam and now we have even more styrofoam in our bodies. Makes me want to cry.
What to do? Decide today to GIVE UP styrofoam and SPEAK OUT against its’ use. Here’s how:
1.) Does your favorite restaurant send you home with your leftovers in styrofoam containers? Ask them to make the switch to aluminum containers or better yet, heavy duty cardboard. Greenrestaurant.com has awesome options. If the restaurant won’t make the switch, don’t take home your leftovers…. Remember, you committed to giving up styrofoam! Sometimes this involves a sacrifice. Asian restaurants are the worst with their abundant use of styrofoam. Styrofoam does prevent soy sauce leakage, but they must do better.
2.) Styrofoam coffee cups are still abundant in places like hair salons, gas stations, sporting fields and even DUNKIN DONUTS. Later today we will get our open letter out to DD asking them to stop serving styrofoam with their coffee (styrene breaks down into hot drinks so along with your hot cocoa / coffee / tea you are getting a dose of toxic styrofoam into your blood stream. GROSS). This movement will take more than my open letter to create change. All of us need to ask our local vendors to stop carrying styrofoam cups. Usually, as soon as I tell a hairdresser that the coffee they drink all day is fine but that the melted styrofoam isn’t, they make the switch. I hate to use scare tactics but…
3.) Egg cartons, meat packaging, pre-packaged veggies and fruits— are you starting to see how the styrofoam monsters sneak it into every aspect of our life?? Remember you gave up styrofoam, which means, you don’t even have to think about using these options anymore. Find alternatives. Purchase unpackaged vegetables on a Sunday and pre-chop for the week. Only buy the eggs that are sold in cardboard containers. Buy meat, fish, and chicken direct from the person behind the counter (they wrap it in paper). Check out our post on mason jars for ideas on a bunch of different ways to use these glass jars instead of throw away containers.
4.) Styrofoam as packing peanuts is SO old fashioned. For any vendors that still use it, we need to call them out on a twitter post. There are so many alternatives : corn-starch based peanuts that decompose completely, shredded paper, cardboard, newspaper, and cloth. While you’re at it, don’t forget to thank the vendors who do use the proper materials. Their heart is in the right place and they deserve recognition for that!
5.) Foam core: this is a tough one because of school assignments and presentations. Consider this: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 50 MILLION American students in k-12th grade. That’s easily 50 MILLION large pieces of styrofoam thrown into our landfills each year. Ask our teachers to get on board with the idea of only using poster board and digital media for presentations. If students, parents, and teachers committed to no more foam board we could easily save 50 million pieces of styrofoam (or more) from our landfills ( I think the companies would just stop making it at that point.. VICTORY!)
Did I forget any other major uses of styrofoam? Let me know on Twitter @dreamingreengirl
We didn’t say giving up styrofoam was convenient but WOW! your body burden and all the little fishies will thank you.