By Dr Joseph S Maresca
Major municipalities like New York and others in the United States face the prospect of citizens creating a growing amount of trash because of population increases, wasteful product packaging, and materials which defy decomposition.
Styrofoam cups are an example of inorganic materials which defy easy breakdown for recycling purposes. Seattle has banned these styrofoam cups with cities like New York likely soon to follow. Generally speaking, organically based materials may be disposed of more easily by natural processes like composting.
Right now, the restaurant industry in New York City is gearing up to thwart an effort by legislators to ban styrofoam cups. Continue reading
STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam is a registered trademark of The Dow Chemical Company and has been a valued asset for more than 60 years.
The STYROFOAM™ Brand name is often misused as a generic term for disposable foam products such as coffee cups, coolers and packaging materials. These materials, however, are made from expanded polystyrene (also known as EPS) and do not have the insulation value, compressive strength or moisture-resistant properties of STYROFOAM™ Brand Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation.
There isn’t a coffee cup, cooler or packaging material in the world made from actual STYROFOAM™ Brand Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation. STYROFOAM™ is a registered trademark of The Dow Chemical Company that represents its branded building material products, including rigid foam and structural insulated sheathing, and more.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food packaging, which is commonly referred to by the Dow trademark Styrofoam, in February.
In a Bloomberg News article, the mayor describes the material as “something that we know is environmentally destructive and that may be hazardous to our health, that is costing taxpayers money and that we can easily do without, and is something that should go the way of lead paint.”
According to the city, an estimated 20,000 tons of EPS food packaging enter its waste stream per year and removing the material from the recycling stream adds an estimated $20 per ton to the cost of recycling. Continue reading
Styrofoam is non-biodegradable. According to Washington University, Styrofoam takes 500 years to decompose. With enough Styrofoam cups produced each day to circle the earth if lined up end to end, the potential for major ecological impact is great.
The Earth Resource Foundation reports that Styrofoam manufacturers were the fifth largest producer of toxic waste in 1986. Continue reading
Styrofoam has the potential to affect the entire ecological system of this planet. Used in product packages and the shipping industry, the world produces tons of Styrofoam each year which is now a major environmental problem. Landfills are filling up at a record rate and Styrofoam is one reason and Styrofoam is non-biodegradable adds to the ecological impact. Continue reading
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The primary problem with Styrofoam cups is that they do not biodegrade quickly and take up space in landfills. Styrofoam takes a long time to break down in the environment and can accumulate as harmful waste in landfills. Some coffee houses are now selling their coffee and hot beverages in biodegradable cups rather than in Styrofoam. The biodegradable cup does not use a paper jacket like most traditional hot beverage containers, but instead is designed with corrugated cardboard on the interior of the cup to keep the heat inside. Continue reading