Ask Prof. CricketGive up Styrofoam for Lent
By Naomi Yaeger & Prof. Cricket
UMW Green Team Rep and dog
While United Methodists don’t traditionally urge members to give up something for Lent, Prof. Cricket, and I, as your UMW Green Team representative are going to give you a challenge. See if you can refuse to use Styrofoam this Lenten Season. Do you thing it will be easy or hard? You might be surprised how often Styrofoam is used.
The first summer I gave up using Styrofoam, I actually lost weight while traveling and attending street fairs. That is because a lot of greasy, calorie laden foods are packaged and served with Styrofoam. Also once you stop to think about what you are doing, you usually decide to go for the more healthy choice. I once searched for 20 minutes and settled on a bison burger, because it was served in a paper tray. Oranges and bananas also don’t need packaging. If you are organized you can plan ahead and pack your own sandwiches, mugs and water bottles.
I like to be polite and sometimes it can be hard when refusing a treat served on Styrofoam. The other night I was out at Hammond’s Steakhouse in Superior. I had too much steak and noticed that the waitress was packaging other’s leftovers in Styrofoam containers. I knew Prof. Cricket would love some steak. I had a dilemma. Do I leave good leftover steak or use a Styrofoam take-out container?
I politely told the waitress I didn’t use Styrofoam and did she have a bag or aluminum foil so I could bring the leftover home to my dog. She quickly found both. Prof. Cricket was very happy that night and the next day, with her steak leftover treat.
The reasons the national United Methodist Women are asking you not to use Styrofoam are:
- The production of Styrofoam takes 10 times as much water as washing a ceramic cup.
- Styrofoam contains chemicals that over time and continuous exposure (even in small amounts) can build up in the body and cause many health issues. One U.S. EPA study of human fat biopsies found styrene residues in every single sample.
- Some of the waste productions in Styrofoam production are known cancer causing agents
- Disposal of foam products results in the overfilling of landfills with bulky, non-degrading plastics.
- CFCs used to make foam packaging deplete the ozone layer.
- Dispersal of the chemical precursors and waste byproducts used in the manufacture of Styrofoam pollutes the environment.