Why we should trash our use of Styrofoam

Lauren Young Op, Ed Columnist

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Styrofoam: an epidemic even worse than plastic. Styrofoam is used for so many everyday functions such as take-out containers, boxes, cups, and packing material in packages.

Styrofoam never breaks down and is not recyclable. It can however break into small pieces that are small enough to choke animals should they find their way to it when it is in the garbage or landfills.

A lot of food establishments use Styrofoam boxes for people to take home their leftover food that they did not eat or even for their general take-out meals. One of the places that is very familiar with this practice is our very own Husky Lounge. Think about how many boxes go out in one night from Husky with wings and pizza alone.

That’s just late night, Styrofoam boxes are used all day for all meals at the pizza station. Another place is the ever-popular Chick-Fil-A. I love Chick-Fil-A a lot more than a person probably should love a fast food restaurant (or any restaurant for that matter), but we all know what our beloved lemonade is coming in: a Styrofoam cup.

This is truthfully the one thing about Chick-Fil-A that really bothers me. They use plastic cups for the frosted lemonades, so why not just for all beverages? Along with not being good for the environment, Styrofoam is also not good for human health. Have you ever had someone tell you that you can’t microwave Styrofoam? Well the reason for this is that there are chemicals in the foam that, when heated, can leak into the food that you are trying to heat up.

This is why using plastic containers from restaurants are handier, they are usually microwave safe so you can just pop your box right in the microwave and be done with it. Some restaurants already do this, and I find it much more convenient to not have to dirty a separate dish. If the price of cups for example is the point of concern, plastic cups are the way to go. While they are only designed for cold drinks, they are cheaper to buy because they are lighter, thus lowering the cost of manufacturing.

While Styrofoam cups serve both hot and cold drinks, they are not the most pleasant to drink out of or hold. Just something about them is a little odd. Plastic cups may not be the most environmentally friendly either, but at least plastic cups can be recycled. While Styrofoam and plastic are both good and bad, don’t forget the third option! Lower your carbon footprint by investing in a reusable travel mug, water bottle, etc.

 

Yes, sometimes it is necessary or convenient to have disposable supplies, if you are having a party for example, but going reusable will ultimately save you money in the long run and our landfills won’t fill as quickly.

Lauren is a sophomore Graphic Design major and an Op/Ed Columnist for The Voice.