Styrofoam, the Scourge

You’re supposed to be able to recycle old #6, otherwise known as Styrofoam, the immortal substance that has bombarded our planet. But recycling it is expensive, and a lot of areas simply don’t offer recycling options.

If you live in one of those areas, you probably have a big bag of it in the garage or somewhere, so you can use it to pack boxes, but then what? The bag gets bigger and bigger until out in the trash it goes–into a landfill if we’re lucky. Hope it doesn’t end up in the ocean along with all the other plastic trash.

Businesses that do any shipping might be open to re-using Styrofoam packaging materials. Call a few in your area.

You can put Styrofoam peanuts at the bottom of a planter instead of rocks. You can make little snowmen! I’m not joking! Click here for more creative uses and crafts for Styrofoam.

And take heart. The days of Styrofoam are numbered. Two young hotshots have invented its replacement. It looks exactly like Styrofoam, feels exactly like Styrofoam, does everything Styrofoam does. But it’s not. It’s actually mushroom mycelia grown on agricultural waste: chopped up cornstalks, husks and hulls etc. The process takes four to seven days in molds, using hardly any energy at all. Needless to say, it biodegrades.

Oh, and another bonus–it’s not carcinogenic! (unlike styrene, the chemical that Styrofoam finally breaks down into, in case you didn’t get my point).

Petroleum-free styrofoam is on the way! Meantime, re-use the old stuff as much as you can.

Styrofoam-resembling stuff that isn't Styrofoam
Meet your doom, Styrofoam

 

 

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