Green Cell Foam recently created this awesome infographic about the environmental and health impact of Styrofoam.

The infographic also offers sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives people can practice to avoid the consumption and disposal of Styrofoam.

As I have written before:

Many modern items aren’t designed to last. Styrofoam containers, plastic straws, and synthetic fibers don’t break down naturally and do damage to the environment. In contrast, natural materials like wood and stone enrich their environments when they break down.

Because modern consumers don’t interact with their trash, many of them think about its use instead of its final destination. For example, people have thrown away or recycled over 6,300 million metric tons of plastic since the 1950s. Most of these people were thinking about convenience, daily life, and personal finances when they used plastic – not wondering where it would finally end up.

Both landfills and trash incineration have a negative impact on the environment. Landfill cells are insulated with layers of clay and plastic to prevent toxic chemicals from leaching out. Some materials decompose quickly, while others can take hundreds of years to fully break down. During this time, decomposing materials produce methane gas and toxic liquid.

For a while, environmentalists were hopeful that incinerating trash might be a better option. However, incineration pollutes the air with toxic particles. Although companies filter this air, they can’t fully purify it. Incineration also results in toxic ash that we must bury and then monitor in landfills.

What You Can Do

The best option for waste management today is to change consumer habits. Instead of buying plastic, choose natural materials that will break down over time. Items that last for a long time are kinder to the environment, especially if we can extend their life through reuse or recycling.

The Reality of Styrofoam