Foamed Plastic (Styrofoam)
What a wonderful material. It keeps your hands from being scalded by your coffee-to-go and your brain intact inside your helmet. And it floats so well that it is often the main ingredient in objects that folks throw into the water on purpose (fishing buoys, life savers). Whether it be packing material, fishing net buoys, or takeout food packaging, this is pretty much the best floating marine debris there is. Styrofoam is a “top 10” item collected in international beach cleanups. It eventually breaks down into an avalanche of white beadlets, making it a tailor-made microplastic generator. It can leach pollutants out into the water and releases toxic fumes when burned. Bans are being spoken, and alternatives are available: a cardboard “clamshell” for your takeout cheeseburger or “packing peanuts” made of popcorn instead of expanded polystyrene loose fill?
KeywordsBeanbag Microplastic Nurdles Packing material Packing peanuts Polystyrene Styrofoam
- 1.Marine debris awareness poster (2016) https://web.whoi.edu/seagrant/outreach-education/marine-debris
- 3.Ocean Conservancy (2016) https://oceanconservancy.org/blog/2016/07/07/san-francisco-bans-polystyrene-foam/