If you’ve attended Open Circle on Sunday mornings at Lake Chapala Society and are used to getting your morning coffee or tea in Styrofoam cups, you will no longer have that option.
As of January 7, Open Circle’s Steering Committee has decided to “go green” and become 100-percent compostable.
Says Open Circle Program Coordinator, Margaret Van Every: “We will no longer be contributing to the annual waste of 25 billion Styrofoam cups and containers, with their 20-minute’s worth of use, requiring more than a million years to decompose.”
According to Van Every, due to the health risks from toxins and gases released into the environment, fewer recycling centers are accepting Styrofoam. Large-scale recycling of Styrofoam has been banned in many towns and cities, resulting in huge amounts of hazardous accumulation.
“Styrofoam easily breaks into bits,” she says. “Small land and aquatic animals eat these pieces and die from the toxins. Given its porosity, it absorbs many other pollutants, like DDT, in sea water, where much of these pieces end up. When they sink to the seabed, fish eat them and pass them on to humans, who end up consuming them in seafood.”
Styrofoam, the trade name for polystyrene, is a petroleum-based plastic invented by Dow Chemical Company. Styrofoam containers are commonly used for take-out food in Mexico, and chemicals can leach into the food and contaminate it, affecting human health and reproductive systems. This leaching increases significantly with hot liquids.