“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”
We all know the quote, but did you know that it only applies to natural substances. Unlike most materials, polystyrene (PS), which is what Styrofoam cups are made out of, does not biodegrade for at least 500 years. The products we buy that contain PS will without a doubt out last us, our kids, and grand kids. When we purchase a product with the recycling #6 symbol it means that that product is made from polystyrene.
According to the EPA, there are 25 billion styrofoam cups thrown away every year. Unlike other plastics, Styrofoam crumbles very easily and gets washed away into our local and not so local coast lines. You can imagine some of the consequences of those actions. Just imagine if this beach was in your town. Who would be responsible for the clean up and the cost associated? Would it take the destruction of our local beaches in order for us to change our ways? I hope not. Remember that styrofoam Dunkin’ Donuts cup for this morning? What did you you do with it?
So how can we fix this environmental disaster? Here’s an easy fix. Don’t purchase styrofoam cups. If you don’t purchase them, you don’t have to throw them away. If you do purchase them, try to reuse them. Keep one in your car, and when you order your next iced coffee ask your barrista to leave out the outside styrofoam cup. Even better, grab your reusable mug and bring it to your coffee shop. In my local Dunkin’ Donuts they they accept reusable mugs and they give me a ten cent discount for using one. The majority of environmental degradation can be reduced by simple changes in our behavior.