Picking apart a Styrofoam coffee cup after use makes a person wonder why this substance and not another became so popular. What other uses of Styrofoam exist besides crinkling it up between the fingers and listening to the snap, crackle, and pop of it? It must do more than make a boom in the middle of the room when stomped upon vigorously. Doing a bit of research shows Styrofoam reflects the multipurpose ways our modern life goes.
Origin of Styrofoam
Styrofoam manufacturers in California have explained the word “Styrofoam” lists as a trademark. Licensed and owned by Dow Chemical Company, Styrofoam’s birth happened in a lab more than 50 years ago. Today it's recognized by its white color, but the original Styrofoam had a blue hue. The composition of Styrofoam remains a versatile plastic known as polystyrene with 98% air. Plastic begins as an oil then put through a process to create Styrofoam. Dow took the plastic and created a new process which birthed the product Styrofoam.
Styrofoam manufacturers in California note the substance had insulating properties. If placed in water the foam would float like a boat. In 1942 the Coast Guard and Navy requested a Styrofoam six-man life raft since the foam resists water. Styrofoam also has flammability so keep it away from open flames, or rapid melting will occur. After the war Styrofoam production moved into construction. Flexible and capable of being molded it began to be used for insulated sheathing, house wrapping, and pipe wrapping. Later the ladies found uses for the product in crafts and floral projects. Other industries noticed and created opportunities in floral shops, theater groups, and the retail food industry. The food industry made Styrofoam a household name since it created coolers, packaging material, fast food take-out boxes, and coffee cups.
Large industries have sprung up like the Styrofoam manufacturers in California because of the products many uses. Today Styrofoam exists in dinnerware, casings for products such as CDs, and filler in packaging. Other surprising uses include layers of foam under road beds to keep the soil stable and intact. Stanford University in 2015 discovered mealworms can eat the foam for dinner. Because of its long-term biodegradability, the Environmental Protection Agency had expressed many concerns about the product. Now, meal worms exist that feed off the product. The Department of Defense funded a study that combined Styrofoam and bio-diesel fuel, and it upped the power output of the fuel. Styrofoam continues to work into the fabric of modern life, but more ways of how to dispose of it, may still be found.
Styrofoam recycling centers do exist. So, check the local area for such programs. Know that these centers specify the type of Styrofoam that they will take. Packing peanuts can be taken to a shipping store like UPS and FedEx.
Styrofoam can be found in most any modern building construction. Its many shapes and classifications make homes affordable and resistant to moisture. It has remained a material of choice for many industries.
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