10 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Styrofoam |

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If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’m not a fan of styrofoam. I can’t deny that it’s a great product that’s known for its lightness, durability, and price, but there are a number of reasons why it doesn’t sit well with me. For starters, it takes over 400 years to decompose, and it’s so light that you can’t tell when it’s in your food. Finally, it’s non-biodegradable and it’s carcinogenic.

Styrofoam is a synthetic material that was created in 1935 to replace the petroleum based insulating material (asfalt), and was used as the standard insulation material for food service equipment, shipping containers, and other products. However, in the early 2010s, the use of Styrofoam is becoming less common for a number of reasons. Given that Styrofoam is a petroleum based product that releases a number of harmful greenhouse gasses when burned, and is also a non-renewable material, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find alternatives to the Styrofoam.

We eat, we love, we drink, we breathe, we live, but is that all we do? Are we as much a part of the planet as we are of the ozone layer? With so few people in the world taking care of the planet so that all life on Earth can last, there sure seems to be a lot of things that we need to change.

Now that New York City has joined Seattle, Portland and Washington D.C. in banning polystyrene, better known as Styrofoam, it looks like the iconic Styrofoam coffee cups and Styrofoam packing peanuts will disappear like dinosaurs.

Why do we use polystyrene?

Polystyrene has been a popular material since it was developed in the 1940s because it is cheap, light and disposable. Unfortunately, because polystyrene, like plastic, is made up of polymers, it does not degrade in a landfill.

This is a particularly important issue because studies have shown that polystyrene foam can be carcinogenic to humans. The good news is that there are many options for lightweight, inexpensive materials that are better for your health and the environment.

The use of environmentally friendly products and packaging is part of the overall picture. You can introduce new, smarter rules into your day. If so, you should give this free 30-day meditation challenge a try. By practicing meditation, you become familiar with mindfulness and attention, which is ideal if you want to expand your sustainable horizons.

Check out this list of alternatives to Styrofoam products to see what might pop up in a coffee shop or mailbox near you one day!

1. Equipment for mushrooms

Loan : Ekovata

These materials are grown, not manufactured. No, seriously – they’re made of mushrooms! Agricultural waste is mixed with mushrooms to produce a totally sustainable alternative to packaging.

2. Packing of vegetables

Loan : UFP Technologies

Are you dissatisfied with the plant properties of your standard packaging materials? Who doesn’t, right? The seeds contained in this fibrous cardboard can turn your next postal package into a beautiful garden outside your window.

3. Edible peanuts

Ready : Alligator sunglasses

Packing peanuts is even more fun when you can eat them. We can’t guarantee they’ll taste good, but since they’re made entirely of corn starch, don’t worry if your pets decide to eat them.

4. InCycle® cup

LoanMicroGREEN, Inc. : MicroGRIN, Inc.

MicroGREEN uses its unique technology to add carbon dioxide to recycled plastics. This creates light, durable plastics that are easier to recycle and reuse.

5. Bowl of ecological bamboo fibre

Loan : Nova68

Tom Dixon’s note to buyers explains that these bowls are made of powdered bamboo fibers mixed with resin. The footnote states: After a long functional life, they can be used as plant pots or simply composted in the ground.

6. EarthConscious™Biodegradable packaging materials

Loan : The age of times

It looks like an ordinary plastic airbag, but EarthAware™’s packaging material is made from a special type of plastic that degrades in just 5 years. This is much faster than the biodegradation time of the foam, which never comes.

7. EarthShell paper plate

Loan : The age of times

These disposable plates have no paper at all. Instead, rice, potatoes and limestone could be the future of picnics in Central Park.

8. Plastic peat

Loan : Giz Mag

Peat is usually used for making garden pots, Scotch whisky and strange smelling bonfires. But thanks to a Finnish research organization, it is possible to make biodegradable cups and utensils from this cheap and abundant raw material.

9. ecotainer® cup

Loan : Biomass conditioning

Over 90% of the Styrofoam that ended up in New York City landfills came from food packaging such as disposable plates, take-out boxes and cups. These attractive ecotainer® cups, made from recycled plants and wood fibres, could well fill this niche.

10. Loliware edible cups

Loans : Sustainable leadership

They may not replace the standard dinner cup, but we can see how much New Yorkers love this edible glassware. These vegan cups are made from vegetable gelatin and have a flavor to match your drink. They are also very environmentally friendly, whether they break down in a landfill or in your stomach.

What is your preferred alternative to polystyrene? Let us know what you would like to use!

As more and more people become aware of the shocking amount of waste produced by the throwaway plastic cups of the world, it’s become clear that we need to find alternatives to these materials, otherwise our planet will be choked in Styrofoam, plastic containers, and countless other disposable products.. Read more about alternatives to styrofoam lunch trays and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good alternative to styrofoam?

Some alternatives to styrofoam are paper, cardboard, and recycled materials.

Is there eco-friendly Styrofoam?

There is not eco-friendly Styrofoam, but there are many other options.

What can you use instead of foam?

You can use a thin layer of paper or cardstock instead of foam.

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