I'm just as guilty as the next person when it comes to using Styrofoam to package to-go boxes. I frequently am unable to finish a restaurant meal, and most places will bring you one of these boxes to take the rest home.
One of my favorite fast food restaurants (Chick-fil-a) uses Styrofoam cups for fountain drinks. I've heard some people rave about the benefits of these cups keeping drinks cold/hot longer and absorbing condensation.
But Styrofoam contains toxic chemicals that can be absorbed by food (especially when microwaved!). Not only that, it is made with petroleum which is a major polluter. This oil based product takes at least 500 years to biodegrade!
Glass and plastic bottles are also terrible in terms of amount of time to break down, but at least they can be recycled.
So what can we do about it?
- When I go to Chick-fil-a, I take my own reusable water bottle (cause I really don't need to drink soda anyway). If you order your meal without a drink, you do save that money.
- Pay attention to which restaurants use paper products rather than Styrofoam for to-go boxes. And try to choose these if you know you're going to have leftovers.
- If you know a restaurant uses Styrofoam, plan ahead. Take a friend and share a meal. Good company and no waste!