I’m sad to announce that we got our first piece of takeout Styrofoam on the weekend. We’ve been avoiding Styrofoam during the project. Actually, we haven’t brought a single bit of Styrofoam into our house.
Wait, that’s not completely true because “Work Grant” has a little pile down there in his office that came with electronics or some such thing he was buying, but work exemptions aside, we don’t usually do Styrofoam.
We ordered Chinese takeout for a family dinner at my Grandma’s. My family is very supportive of our project, so a few of us actually went to the restaurant with a bag of reusable containers to pick it up. Takeout dinner for 8 with no waste.
We ended up with a little Styrofoam container of sauce for the lemon chicken. The restaurateur unfortunately didn’t realize that we had our own little containers that they could have used for sauce. . . . .
However, we did save 6 clamshells from the landfill by using our containers, so I’d still say it was a success. The restaurant lady actually said they had a number of customers who also bring their own, so it’s nice to know that were aren’t the only ones.
Luckily, the mobile recycling depot in North Van takes styrofoam. Some they sell to companies that reuse it for packing. Some they sell to somewhere in the United States where they melt it down into a hard plastic material that can be made into a small number of new products. Hmmm, I’m just realizing here that I should do some research before writing these posts. . . .
But the point is that it’s not that styrofoam isn’t recyclable. All plastics are technically recyclable. It’s whether they are cost effective to recycle that determines if there is a market for them and whether we, as consumers, have somewhere to put them.
For us it again comes down to the question of neccessity. For example most people would agree that using styrofoam for lifesaving flotation devices is ok. But I would argue that using it for temporary takeout-food packaging is is something that we could probably do without.
And that is why, my friends, I weep for the single Styrofoam container we now have in our possession.