1000 Flowers for the Planet - #414 Avoid Polystyrene
Put very simply, polystyrene is a plastic based product, therefore it has all of the negative environmental impacts that any other plastic might have. It is used to make products such as: CD jewel cases; plastic model kits; license plate frames; disposable plastic cutlery; disposable razors, and what we are all more familiar with – foam packaging, such as comes around electronic equipment. This foam packaging is particularly nasty in that it is so light and therefore easily blows about the environment and gets trapped in waterways where it can harm marine life. In Australia we throw away over 40,000 tonnes of polystyrene packaging every year – imagine what is sent to landfill in other countries around the world with far greater populations than Australia. The good news for Aussies is that it can actually be recycled, if not through our kerbside collections, then through other collection sites (search the Internet for recycling collection sites near you). Another major contributor to landfill and environmental waste and destruction is the foam coffee cup. Think about how many of those must be used around the world every day!
If we avoid using polystyrene products, we avoid putting many single use products into landfill. We avoid using valuable resources to make these throw-away products in the first place – a senseless thing to do if you stop to think about it. We also avoid littering our landscapes with rubbish that blows around easily, and we can avoid using even more resources to clean up and recycle.
It’s just a matter of finding more sustainable ways to do things, which many of the Flowers in this art project have already addressed. Create a monthly challenge for yourself and your family to identify polystyrene in your life and discover ways to avoid it altogether, and give the planet room to breathe, so it can look after us into the future.