Styrofoam is a bad habit – and we can do better
In the U.S., consumers are buying 25 Billion styrofoam cups each year – each cup is expected to pollute our land (landfills), water (seeping and clogging) and air (burned emissions) for 500 – 5,000 years.
(source: Oberlin College, 2011)
Moms don’t like bad habits.
Styrofoam is just another bad habit — like chewing with your mouth open, something a mom would continue to point out to their child no matter how old they are. Moms can be relentless when trying to make their point but no matter how much we fight we usually know Mom is right. Like mom, Styrofoam will persist. We toss styrofoam in the trash, and though it may be out of sight, out of mind, styrofoam does not go away! We’ve all made bad choices that went against our mothers’ good advice, sometimes with consequences that can be far worse than predicted.
We Can Do Better.
For many of us, our earliest memories and lessons are learned from family. Social pressures sometimes make bad habits seem acceptable as we repeat the mistakes of our forefathers. The two examples that most readily come to mind involve tobacco and alcohol use. As we have learned more about cancer and substance abuse, we as a nation have become more aware of ways to prevent our children from abusing these substances. But we have not eradicated the problems completely. In households where parents still smoke a pack day or go through a case of beer in a night of drinking, the future holds illness and addiction. With Styrofoam, people use it because it is easy or because other people are using it but there are dire consequences once we calculate the cost of producing, transporting, and disposing, as well as the environmental impact on the planet, not to mention health affects on our bodies, the social consequences — the COSTS, are anything but cheap.
3211 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
is styrofoam-free! I encourage you to spend your money in restaurants and businesses that make choices for the health of our communities and our environment. If you would like your business added to my list, please visit my website and let me know. Styrofoam Mom Changing how we spend our money will change the world. (Photo Credit: BEAWIHARTA/Reuters)
Styrofoam Mom is here for you
StyrofoamMom.com will reinforce good practices for businesses and show your commitment to changing the direction of our country to reflect the values and stewardship we were once know for. I welcome you to join me in laughing at outrageous wasteful contradictions. I encourage you to take every opportunity to speak up. I expect this endeavor to be a lot of fun and hope to keep things light, but you can be certain of one thing — this is no laughing matter. If we continue to place zero value on items that cost our county as much as products like single use Styrofoam costs us, we will, as our moms have always warned us, “get exactly what we deserve.” In this case, it may be much more then anyone could have predicted.
Ban Styrofoam Use?
I recently asked 60 people who were standing in line (waiting for the new Ipad) if they would support a ban on single-use Styrofoam. More than 80 percent of the people surveyed said they would. Of all the people retail and industry leaders would hope to understand better, it would be folks just like these, the early adopters. These people have the income, the knowledge, the inclination to possess the latest gadget and are the trendsetters for future growth markets. So why are these people so willing to give up styrofoam? because they know styrofoam has no value.
Because they know that there are cheaper, better, and ultimately healthier alternatives to styrofoam. It is time we, as a community, take this understanding a bit further and, like every good mother, put aside what is easy for what is best.
Most Wasteful: U.S.
The United States, once known for a high standard of living, is now widely recognized around the world as the most wasteful country on the planet. A young environmentalist friend of mine, who is making a journey across the country picking up trash, says that this generation of children should be known as the “trash generation.” From cell phones to gift cards, our nation generates more trash than we produce in durable goods.
Real Cost of Use?
There is a perception when buying “cheap” that waste doesn’t matter. When you buy 500 cups for $3.99, do you worry that you only need 200? What happens to the rest? Where does all of that trash go? Buying “cheap” is anything but. Is Styrofoam made from renewables? No. It is made from petroleum. Is Styrofoam recyclable? No. It is left in a landfill, burned into the atmosphere, or abandoned floating in our water supply. The real cost of styrofoam to our health and our environment is HUGE.