Not only are you eating rice noodles out of that Styrofoam takeout container, you may be feeding yourself tasty carcinogens. Oh, and you’ll pollute the environment when you toss the container in the garbage (or on the sidewalk, for all the difference it makes). Of course, that won’t matter if the styrene in the Styrofoam gets to you first.
But this is a scenario that can be avoided! NaturoPack is here to help. The Toronto-based, non-profit responsible packaging organization will soon have its first major campaign well underway. Get it to Go Green advocates sustainable take-out containers, which are often made of sugar cane, corn, and potato starch. Such materials are biodegradable, non-toxic, and do not contain cancer causing agents, unlike the materials in paper, plastic, and Styrofoam.
Hot food and beverages and beverages high in alcohol content absorb the styrene in Styrofoam containers, which can attack your nervous system if you ingest it. These containers can also contain benzene, the good stuff found in car exhaust and cigarette smoke. Yum. Benzene-laden rice noodles.
Conventional take-out containers can take a hundred years to break down. In the meantime, the containers harm the ecosystem. On the other hand, a container made of potato starch goes back right where it came from- the earth, now to fertilize the soil.
“Everyone who we talked to about [sustainable containers] thinks that it’s kind of a no-brainer,” says Farrah Khan, founder of NaturoPack. “It seems like a perfect solution to our waste problem; why aren’t people using it?”
A goal of Get it to Go Green is to convince the City to ban Styrofoam packaging in the food and beverage industry. Khan said city councillors are less willing to speak to business owners because they may have their own agendas, but they are more likely to speak a non-profit advocacy group like NaturoPack. U.S. cities such as Santa Monica, California and Portland, Oregon have already passed bylaws that prohibit Styrofoam take-out containers.
Food and beverage services that currently do not use environmentally friendly containers but are interested in the initiative can contact suppliers such as Bhumi Products and Green Shift for product information. The packaging is only about 10 per cent more expensive than the commonly used containers.
The launch of the Get it to Go Green campaign is this Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Gladstone Hotel (a user of sustainable containers itself), with performances by Ohbijoü, Rural Alberta Advantage, and The Williamson Playboys. There are plans to have a bicycle lighting generator, where guests pedal to power the lighting in the room- no bike, no light. If you can’t make it to the launch, sign the petition to rid Toronto of bad take-out boxes so you can get rice noodles to go green instead.