The Kirkwood Call

Styro-tromo

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Styro-tromo

Jonathan Munroe, News Writer

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Every summer, Tropical Moose opens its windows to Kirkwood residents who flock to the Farmer’s Market and Kirkwood Park for their locally famous snow cones. But there is a downside to all this business: styrofoam usage.

“I hate styrofoam,” Madelyn Pozaric, sophomore, said. “I feel guilty whenever I eat out of it, and it makes me angry to see trash cans full of styrofoam at Tropical Moose.”

Pozaric is a member of the Environmental Society of Kirkwood, an organization that improves the quality of KHS by implementing a composting and recycling system. She believes there are many other materials that Tropical Moose could use to improve their carbon footprint such as compostable cups.

Michael Oldani, senior at Mehlville High School, has been working at Tropical Moose for three years. Oldani said styrofoam is bad for the environment, but he has not seen another product that will both benefit sales and be better for the earth.

“I don’t think the styrofoam is a problem [at Tropical Moose] because of the cost factor for business,” Oldani said. “We have done compostable cups [in the past] and, [although] it was better for the environment, the expenses were not realistic.”

Jack Williams, Tropical Moose owner, implemented compostable cups in past seasons but it turned out they were worse for the environment. Not only did the cups cost 400 percent more than styrofoam, the paper used to make them had to be shipped from the United States to China. There, it was manufactured and shipped back across the ocean to board a truck to the Midwest, making the carbon footprint enormous, according to Williams.

“When we had the paper cups, there were a few recycling bins and people didn’t even recycle the cups,” Williams said. “Most of the time, the cups would be put in a plastic bag and they wouldn’t get picked up, so they would end up in the dumpster.”

“I would love to be able to use a product that is compostable and recyclable, but it is going to take new material, new recycling techniques and community cooperation.”

While styrofoam takes millions of years to decompose it can be recycled there are no recycling centers based in the St. Louis area that take styrofoam from food use. Styrofoam is especially hard to recycle because has to be properly cleaned, which is one of the main reasons why Kirkwood was possibly going to end curbside recycling. Chinese companies are becoming more picky about how clean recycling is to be processed.

Currently, American trash has 25 percent contamination while recycling plants request to have 0.13 percent contamination according to Williams. For food containers, the paper has to be Grade A, meaning that it has never been printed on. If restaurants Tropical Moose such as On the Run and Chick-fil-A were to recycle their cups, they would all have to be hand washed and dried fully.

“Hopefully the next generation will be able to find a way to use newsprint and recycled newspaper to make food containers,” Williams said. “I would love to be able to use a product that is compostable and recyclable, but it is going to take new material, new recycling techniques and community cooperation.”

About the Contributors
Jonathan Munroe, news writer

Interests: Violin, eating and sleeping
Favorite food: Mac and cheese
Favorite quote: “I love bread.” - Oprah Winfrey
If you had to be another...

Malayna Vines, photography editor





Interests: Dance, violin, photography, volunteering and making breakfast

Favorite quote: “You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save...

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