Packing Peanuts Got You Down?

September 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm 1 comment

How many times have you gone into a restaurant and gotten take-out and it came in a styrofoam box?  Or you have needed some left overs boxed up and again out comes the styrofoam box.  In the EnAct book we suggest bringing your own reusable take-out container to restaurants and after I found out how bad styrofoam is for us and the environment I am glad I have been using my own container.  Styrofoam is made from oil and contains benzene, which is a known carcinogen.  It takes a long time to break down and releases its harmful chemicals while it does.  Even if you do always bring to your own take-out container to restaurants everyone has bought an electronic or appliance and it is packed full of styrofoam. There is tons of this stuff in the great pacific garbage patch.

photo by Cynthia Vanderlip

The good news is there are some ways to recycle styrofoam.  It can be reused for crafts, made into stamps, used as planters, mailed in to recycle stores and given to shipping and packing stores.  Some mail in recycle stores are RecycleTech, Dolco Packaging, and Timbron to name a few.   Send it now on whitney way in Madison will accept any clean styrofoam that is in good shape.  Home Concepts takes any styrofoam not contaminated with food, and the UPS store will take styrofoam peanuts.  Chances are that I did not get every shipping company in Madison that will take recycled styrofoam either so if you have a store near you call them and see if they will take them.  Also many times your local art teacher will use recycled styrofoam.  The trouble is the styrofoam used for food containers is very hard to recycle even if you do your homework. This is why it is more important than ever to bring your own take-out containers into restaurants.  Pop deluxe has some cute ones for sale and Willy Street Co-op sells some as well.  Most of all if you are frustrated by the use of styrofoam as much as I am, communicate your frustration in a polite fashion to your favorite retailer or restaurant.  You never know if enough people ask they might just listen!

Be Happy, Healthy and Green,


Entry filed under: consequences, conservation, consumption, other, sustainability, waste.

Turning Grey Water Green – The Untapped Potential for Saving Water Less Trashy – a blog by Greener Faster Participant Tammy Markee-Mayas

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Brennan Nardi  |  September 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Great blog topic! I follow someone on Twitter who chronicled her plight to get a Madison grocery store manager to offer greener takeout containers for the salad bar. And they did! So speaking up definitely makes a difference.


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