Ashley K.

Still Here in 500 Years

Every year “Americans throw away 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups” (Get). All around our great nation no matter where we go we see these styrofoam cups sitting out for our convenience. How much of a convenience are they really? The styrofoam cup you just drank your coffee out of will still be around 500 years from now (Get). Now let's compare them to there more eco friendly sister product, the paper cup. The paper cup only takes a mere five years to completely decompose (Measuring). Not only having a swifter decomposition rate the paper cup is 100 percent recyclable. 

“The manufacture of 10,000 polystyrene cups causes about 680 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions; that’s equivalent to emissions from 34.5 gallons of gas” (Gehrman). So is the convenience of not having to wash some dishes or spending a little extra money on a decomposable cup really worth the long lasting effects that styrofoam cups will have on our environment? Which raises the ultimate question we need to address: is living with this ecologically toxic invention something we actually need?

This is one of those issues that raises a broad spectrum of problems, not only does it have a lasting effect on our earth but what about people? Roughly 90,000 workers are exposed to the dangerous chemical styrene (the building block of styrofoam cups) each year. Studies have shown that styrene is linked to not only harsh effects on the central and peripheral nervous system of workers coming in close contact with it, but also the debilitating diseases Parkinson's and Leukemia (The Environmental). During the manufacturing of these cups all of these harsh chemicals are pushed into the atmosphere to be inhaled by our friends, family, loved ones, and the people of this great nation. So it is in my personal opinion that this is one invention we can certainly live without. We have one earth, one ecosystem, one atmosphere, and one life to preserve it, for generations to come.