Kansas should consider true cost of Styrofoam

Whether it's hidden production costs or environmental damage, Kansas needs to consider the full impact of continuing to use Styrofoam.



July 29, 2021 - 7:48 AM

Most Styrofoam food containers and cups end up in landfills and water bodies, writes Syed Jamal. Public and private sectors can take actions to encourage the use and development of alternatives. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

It’s cheap. It’s convenient. And it’s claimed to be easily recyclable. Yes, I am talking about Styrofoam or styrene. These disposable foam containers are widely used and resist biodegradation, thus increasing the risk of environmental pollution.

Since I wrote a Kansas Reflector commentary on microplastics, I have had conversations with folks about the use of Styrofoam for packaging and food serving, and how to reduce the use of this polluting material.

Styrofoam is a Dow trademark product and it is usually confused with expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is made when crushed beads of polystyrene are exposed to steam and fill up with the air. Both products are based on styrene, a derivative of the organic compound benzene, and are commercially produced in Kansas.