Foreword from Lynn Rolle, CEO of BōKU: The trend of the “to-go cup” needs some personal reflection. Recently, I visited my hometown of Philadelphia. It had been ages since I was last there, and in the midst of visiting family and friends, I was struck by one very surprising reality: the number of nationwide popular coffee store (that will remain unnamed for now) in the region had exploded. There seemed to be a store on every corner! I thought Starbucks was everywhere, but this was mind-blowing.
Sure, this particular joint serves a great cup of coffee. Unfortunately, they serve those coffees in an environmental and health hazard: styrofoam cups. The company runs 10,000 stores in 38 states and 32 countries, and claim to sell around 30 cups of coffee every second. That’s nearly 2.6 million cups of coffee in a given day — and a whole lot of styrofoam cups!
There’s no doubt that problems with styrofoam exist. Recycling styrofoam is not an option, and the chemicals styrofoam releases can be dangerous to our health. It makes me sick to think of how many cups poison our bodies with chemicals and are then dumped in landfills and oceans.
I’m not a politically outspoken person, but this is a shocking reality. I feel compelled to spread awareness about styrofoam, as well as the problems with styrofoam.
To help, we compiled “10 Scary Styrofoam Facts” to encourage consumers to learn more and take a stand.
10 Scary Styrofoam Facts — Why Is Styrofoam Bad?
1. Each year, Americans throw away enough styrofoam cups to circle the earth 436 times!
2. Health issues are among the many problems with styrofoam, because it can leak chemicals into your food or beverage.
3. Can you recycle styrofoam? Nope. Styrofoam cannot be recycled.
4. What about styrofoam and the environment? Styrofoam does not biodegrade easily, so it remains in our waterways, oceans, and soil.
5. When exposed to sunlight, styrofoam releases harmful air pollutants.
6. Styrofoam cups and containers take 1 million years to decompose, and recycling styrofoam is not an option.
7. How is styrofoam bad? Chemicals from styrofoam are recognized as possible human carcinogens by the EPA.
8. Styrofoam chemicals in your body can cause blood abnormalities, fatigue, nervousness, and even carcinogenic effects. (source:http://www.greenhome.com/info/news/41.shtml)
9. Another styrofoam fact: Styrofoam is produced from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource obtained through drilling.
10. Styrofoam products pose risks to wildlife. Because recycling styrofoam isn’t possible, waterways can get clogged by partially broken-down styrofoam, and animals often mistake it for food.
How You Can Help
It’s overwhelming to face such grim styrofoam facts. What can you and I do about styrofoam? It’s simple, really.
First, to help stop the styrofoam epidemic by refusing to buy or use products that are packaged in styrofoam. This doesn’t mean you have to give up coffee. Instead, bring your own reusable cup the next to you buy a cuppa, or visit a local coffee shop that doesn’t use styrofoam.
Be empowered! Our purchases can have a significant — and positive — impact. We vote “yes” to the environment and “yes” to recycling when we refuse to purchase styrofoam. As a consumer, you have the power.
When we refuse to buy styrofoam or support businesses that use it, this environmentally unfriendly and hazardous material will be retired — forever.