A simple life has many consequences
It’s everywhere around us. We use it in our homes, offices, on the street, and almost every second meal is consumed exactly from it – the expanded polystyrene foam, also known as “styrofoam.” It is labeled NIX 6 on your single-use cups for coffee, straws, plates, salad containers, ice cream cups Even if, at first sight, it seems less harmful than plastic because our eye and touch tell us that it is soft and easily degradable, styrofoam is actually polystyrene expanded by air. Most people don’t recognize that. Imagine, just one of the gigantic coffee sellers in the US uses more than 2.7 million styrofoam single-use cups and most restaurants and food delivery around the world use foam containers to pack your favorite dishes. Even foods you buy at the store are packaged in styrofoam.
What is harmful polystyrene foam or styrofoam?
The polystyrene foam is a danger. Just like plastic. The EPA ranks products from this substance to the fifth place regarding harmfulness. It’s hard to recycle, and what’s worse, those products are mostly for single use.
Foam is made of styrene and benzene, both of which are petrol-based. Styrene is a chemical, proven in the lab to be directly related to carcinogenicity in animals – therefore, under great suspicion, it has an equally devastating effect on human health. The World Health Organization, among which the International Agency for Research of the Cancer, while this impact on people is still anonymous, is regularly issuing severe warnings about the dangerous presence of styrene in our lives.
We need to raise awareness. Massive campaigns and organizations launched an initiative to ban polystyrene foam usage, especially in the food industry. #foamfree or #sneakystyrene hashtags have emerged as a symbol of the fight for a proper environmentally environment. In addition to directly endangering human health, the polystyrene is damaging our ecosystem and has a devastating effect on the marine, plant and animal world. But if we remember the radical measures and struggle focused on one problem a couple of years ago, to eliminate microbeads, then it is possible to act positively in this field as well.
Legal prohibitions and the support of large producers can prevent an ecological catastrophe
Coca Cola, Proctor & Gamble, L’Oreal, are just some of the giant manufacturers that have joined the fight against risk microbeads, just as they have been actively involved in the battle against polystyrene plastic products in recent years.
Since the beginning of this year, local legislation in New York City has ruled on the absolute ban on polystyrene foam usage. It will include all restaurants, food delivery, and services that produce and serve food in styrofoam. Of course, there are exceptions, such as meat products and other products that are sealed before they reach the restaurant.
Such a ban, advocated in some other states, will be on trial in New York City for 6 months when all prohibited ones will have time to adjust and receive a warning if they violate the ban. Since June, the ban will be absolute.
What is the alternative to polystyrene products?
Well, you have to get some other habits. This is for the benefit of all. The restaurants will offer aluminum packaging, uncoated cardboard or glass. When it comes from your conscience – try to have your own, rechargeable coffee cup that you will wear when you come to Starbucks. Economists might say that switching to alternative packaging is twice as expensive. It can be. But if the price of disposable polystyrene foam is 1 cent, the replacement will cost 2 cents. Undividedly acceptable if we are thinking about the future of the planet.
Governments and local authorities can have the most considerable influence, of course. But one should never neglect the power of the individual and his healthy and eco-friendly habits, which can change the world, we believe.