What is Polystyrene?

There is very little more annoying than those tiny packing peanuts that come in boxes with fragile items.They cling to everything, and no matter how hard you clean, you always end up finding them years down the line.As annoying as they are though, have you ever wondered what they are made of?Very few of us know.These peanuts join a larger group of plastics known as polystyrene, or more commonly referred to as “Styrofoam.”

The most common ways we tend to see polystyrene is in the form of Styrofoam cups, plates, or classic to-go containers.They also make up a lot of packing supplies, like the peanuts.Though many companies and many businesses use these products often, there are a lot of reasons to avoid these plastics that many consumers are not aware of.For example:

  • These plastics have been proven countless times to give off harmful chemicals when used.They especially are harmful when near food and drinks.Keeping food in to-go-containers, or drinking a hot beverage such as coffee or tea out of a container made of polystyrene can negatively affect your health.No one knows for sure exactly how long it takes for the plastic to contaminate food, or what kind of damage it causes, but most studies point to it not being good.When food is concerned, stay far away from these.
  • Most recycling plants do not accept this plastic and cannot recycle them.This means they end up in landfills and pollute the earth.Beyond causing garbage to pile up everywhere and harm the ecosystems, these plastics can sometimes find their way into the mouths of animals, especially birds.The plastic not only cannot be digested, but it poisons the animals that don’t choke on it first.Using these plastics can do a great deal of harm to the nature around you, even if you don’t intend for that to happen.
  • Small plastics can be harmful and dangerous to small children and pets.The plastic peanuts used to protect fragile items in boxes can be a choking hazard to anything that may accidentally try to ingest it.The best thing to do is to switch to a healthier and safer plastic to protest your important shipments, such as air-filled plastic pouches.These are easier to use, easier to ship, and much safer to dispose of.

Though many of us are used to having this plastic in our lives, studies have shown that using it may not be the best course of action.Whenever possible, find an alternative, especially one that you know will be recycled.You’ll be doing yourself a favor, helping out Mother Nature, and ensuring that both you and the ones you love will be kept away from potential dangers lurking in the shadows of a to-go container or a package protected by hundreds of peanuts.