How We Reduce Our Use of Styrofoam and You Can Too!

How We Reduce Our Use of Styrofoam and You Can Too!

Honestly, in this day and age I am amazed that styrofoam is still being used in our country.   Not only is it difficult to recycle, it can also leach styrene, (a known carcinogenic) into your food when heated. Think hot coffee cups and to-go containers.  

When used with food products, especially when heated, styrofoam releases toxic chemicals into the food causing contamination which can be hazardous to your health. In addition, when exposed to sunlight, styrofoam creates harmful air pollutants which contaminate landfills and deplete the ozone layer.  

Many major cities like San Francisco, Oakland and Chicago have banned styrofoam along with the state of Maine and other countries such as India, China and Taiwan. 

Why Do We Still Use Styrofoam in Most of the United States? 

The Short answer is money.  Styrofoam is cheap, lightweight and disposable.  It works great keeping things warm and has been around since the 1940’s.  Also, with carryout being such a big necessity during our COVID crisis styrofoam is filling up the landfills in record numbers.  

Businesses are forced to balance safety and sustainability while trying to stay afloat.

Restaurants are struggling as it is to survive and investing in more expensive to-go containers can be an added burden financially.  

The Good News and Styrofoam Alternatives 

The good news is, there are more and more affordable eco-friendly products out on the market today to help us move in a healthier direction.  Healthier for us and healthier for our planet. 

Check out these innovative 10 eco-friendly alternatives to styrofoam here

I have noticed more and more restaurants offering cardboard to-go containers and for those restaurants who only have styrofoam containers, patrons can ask for their food to be wrapped in foil instead. If everyone was willing to do their part—we could, as a society, significantly reduce styrofoam waste. 

It’s all about awareness and you can do your part today by sharing this post with your friends and family to help us spread awareness about the harmful effects of styrofoam!

7 Steps to Take to Reduce Your Personal Use of Styrofoam

  1. Precycle!  Which means THINK before you buy- make your purchasing decisions based on what would ultimately reduce or eliminate your need to recycle or dispose of waste.  
  2. Bring your own take out containers, it could be a little tricky with the pandemic but it doesn’t hurt to ask and remember this idea for the future. 
  3. Avoid styrofoam egg cartons.  This is getting easier and easier - in my local Natural Grocers, they don’t even sell eggs in styrofoam anymore, recycled cardboard all the way!
  4. Talk to your grocery store about taking out the styrofoam trays for the meat they sell.  At the very least you could ask them to wrap your meat up in butcher paper. I started purchasing my meat (all grass fed and locally sourced) from Butcher Box. No styrofoam trays there, everything is fresh, frozen and delivered to your door in an eco-friendly box. 
  5. When hosting a large event- choose compostable paper products instead of styrofoam.  Check out this post out for tons of environmentally friendly eating supplies.
  6.  Reuse. If you still end up with styrofoam in your house there are many ways that you can actually reuse it!  For example, packing peanuts still show up in packages we didn’t expect so use them as a filler for things like homemade bean bags or stuffed animals that have lost some of their fluff.  For more fun and creative ideas to reuse styrofoam check out this site.
  7. Though it is tough to recycle, there are places that will accept styrofoam, you just have to be willing to look. The easiest way to search is by going to Search Earth 911. Simply put in the type of material you need to recycle and your zip code.  Or simply dial 1-800-CLEANUP for the same information. I found a ton of information on their site and there are even some quizzes to challenge your sustainability skills! 

How Reducing Styrofoam Usage Has Steered Inspire Ecoware 

Here at Inspire Ecoware, we are on a mission to do our part to help the planet by offering an innovative line of reusable products. From bamboo cutlery to reusable produce bags, we help reduce waste from piling up in landfills.

Our latest product, HeatsBox was designed to cut back waste from styrofoam to-go containers. The HeatsBox is a lunchbox that heats and even cooks food through an accompanying app.

The HeatsBox is easy to take on-the-go and we encourage people to take their HeatsBox with them to restaurants to avoid generating waste from yet another styrofoam container.

Just in time for the holidays, HeatsBox is on sale for 10% off and it makes a great gift for the eco-conscious person in your life.

We are All in This Together 

One person really can make a difference and just by making conscious buying decisions we can help to eliminate things that are not healthy for us OR for our beautiful planet.  A little information and inspiration can go a long way. 

What creative ideas do you have to reduce and or reuse styrofoam?