While on a trip to High Point, North Carolina recently I stopped at a tiny corner restaurant. This was a cash-only kind of place that catered to the locals, serving breakfast and lunch most days. Myself and the two people I was with ordered waters to drink but I think I was the only one who was horrified when they arrived in a gigantic styrofoam cup. Then, to add insult to injury, our breakfasts also arrived on styrofoam. Even if the food was the BEST EVER, or the service wonderful, or even the meal, free, I would never return. Not unless changes were made.
Why? Because I was horrified when everything arrived on styrofoam.
Do you know why? Have you heard anything bad about styrofoam?
1. In a nutshell, styrofoam must make the top ten environmentally UNFRIENDLY items ever created. It is not bio-degradable and likely will look the same in 500 years. Some places recycle it, but they are few and far between and if anything greasy was in the styrofoam, recycling becomes impossible.
2. The two things in styrofoam –Benzene and Styrene are known carcinogens and are also have been linked to Parkinsons and Leukemia. The World Health Organization considers styrene to be a carcinogen.
3. According to Harvard Facts a staggering 25,000,000,000 styrofoam cups are thrown away each year! Plastic, including styrofoam makes up 86% of the trash in the ocean. Styrofoam is now the main component of marine debris. That coffee cup or styrofoam cooler? It breaks into many smaller pieces and washes up on shores around the world. Many marine and other animals mistake it for food and then may die a slow death–choking or starving. According to Earth Resource Foundation “Over 1,000,000 birds and sea mammals die every year from plastic/stryfoam ingestion or entanglement.”
4. Styrofoam is made from polystyrene–a petroleum-based product. This is a non-sustainable resource.
5. The chemicals in styrofoam can leach into food or liquids contained in the containers. According to Harvard Facts, styrene can mimic estrogen in the human body, possibly causing developmental defects and increased frequency of spontaneous abortions. The health hazard is accentuated when heated in a microwave.
So here’s what YOU CAN DO!
- Having a party? Don’t buy and use styrofoam products. It’s that simple. Paper products are better and even better yet are “real dishes.” Sure, it’s more work, but YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE! There is no reason why parties demand disposable products. Laziness is not a reason to be environmentally incorrect.
- Have leftovers at a restaurant? Bring your own tuperware or even a ziplock bag for this purpose. Or, ask for a piece of aluminum foil instead of the giant styrofoam container they provide. If enough people voiced their opinions on this the restaurants would change!
- Getting a cup of coffee at a place like Dunkin Donuts that still uses styrofoam? Write to them and tell them they should change. Consider shopping elsewhere. Or bring your own mug.
Please join me in refusing to use this environmentally UNFRIENDLY product! Thank you!