In my experience, anything that is fast, cheap and easy to make is generally bad for human health, bad for the Earth’s health, and most likely both.
Styrofoam is one of the first modern pollutants (invented in 1938) that is considered a necessity of everyday commerce and agriculture. Yet at the same time, it pollutes us and the earth while these effects are not perceptible unless you visit a landfill or a polluted riverfront or beachfront. It is convenient that the inconvenient truth of plastics pollution is kept far away from the public eye.
This story in the Montreal Gazette hints at the nefarious affects of styrofoam but treads lightly. Most likely because major advertisers like Loblaws and Metro run ads in the Gazette. Alternatives are not really discussed which is strange. When I was a boy, 35 years ago, my mother would receive meat from the butcher wrapped in white paper.
The leading solution is an outright ban on the stuff. About 30 municipalities in California have done so to date. Recycling it is just a feel-good solution that shifts the problem to someone else, somewhere else. It currently costs about $3,000 per ton to recycle it – not exactly good business.
The story is quite long. You can read it here.