Many products we purchase, whether it is online or in the store, are safely protected in boxes and polystyrene (a.k.a. Styrofoam trade marked by the Dow Chemical Company). However, polystyrene does not help protect our earth.
According to Static Brain, a single Styrofoam cup contains one billion molecules of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC’s), where it can take 100 years before the CFC atoms break up enough in the ozone layer, making it harmless, and it takes 500 years to break down completely. Currently there are about 110 million Americans living in areas with air pollution levels considered to be harmful by the federal government.
HubPages.com posted an article, “Styrofoam and Polystyrene: Are There Toxic Effects on Humans?”, which claims that Styrofoam is so easily absorbed by organic matter, that the take home containers we store our food in actually may become part of our food as it sits in there. Therefore, every single person “has some amount of polystyrene stored in his or her fatty tissue.” Another great thing to know about polystyrene is that it is manufactured with hydrocarbons, which contributes more to global warming than carbon dioxide emissions.
On the bright side of things Baltimore has now made it possible to recycle Styrofoam. However, it can only be recycled at the Northwest Citizen’s Convenience Center located at 2840 Sission Street. Hours are Monday through Saturday 9 am to 5 pm. These hours then change 9 am to 7 pm in the summer. More information can be found on the Department of Public Works website.
Although the convenience of curbside recycling isn’t available for this material it should not deter anyone from recycling it. We put so much effort towards other things in our lives, but make excuses for ourselves when it comes to the protection of the environment. In case you were daydreaming while reading the beginning of this article, it takes 500 YEARS for polystyrene to break down completely. Therefore, make the effort to recycle something today that could potentially affect your children, your grandchildren, and even your great granchildren.
In conclusion, Styrofoam is not a material easily handled by the environment. It leaches into our water and air as it breaks down, exposing us to its potential health threats. However, recycling is finally available and should be utilized. Take your polystyrene to the Northwest Citizen’s Convenience Center and I am sure the earth, as well as your great great grandchildren, will appreciate it.