“I have too much Styrofoam.” That was the “problem” that a wine writer confessed to while introducing himself at a recent wine writers conference.
There comes a point in the wine lovers’ evolution where getting wine from the local store just won’t suffice. We want a certain bottle, sometimes from the winery or sometimes from a store that offers a better price. So we have the wine sent by UPS or FedEx.
Of the boxes I receive, about half are filled with Styrofoam and about half with cardboard inserts to protect the bottles during transportation. In honor of Earth Day, which is the “greener” material?
My collaborator Pablo Paster calls it “a philosophical choice.” That’s because Styrofoam is much lighter than cardboard thus the box emits fewer greenhouse gases during transportation (though its manufacture emits 8.6 times the equivalent amount of cardboard says Pablo). Even though it can be recycled, it rarely is; new polystyrene is so cheap to manufacture. Thus it ends up in landfills where it takes up a lot of space and needs hundreds of years to break down. Cardboard can be recycled more readily. Both can be reused but probably aren’t reused more than once or twice.
Since I’ve expressed my opinions about the dreaded Styrofoam before, I’ll put the question to you: Which packaging material do you prefer, cardboard, with higher GHG transport emissions today, or Styrofoam, which doesn’t biodegrade?