Whether it is spring break, the dead of winter or the middle of a blazing summer, anytime you go to a beach you are likely to see a styrofoam cooler or even hundreds of them. While we have become so accustomed to seeing these products keep our food and drinks cool, it is a major concern.
Styrofoam, which is made from petroleum and is a non-sustainable resource, takes hundreds to thousands of years to decompose. Adding to the problem, styrofoam is made by expanding small beads of the polymer polystyrene, making it extremely easy for the product to be broken down into smaller pieces but being unable to decompose.
This creates a huge problem for billions of marine creatures across the world. It is a very common occurrence these days for marine researchers to find styrofoam pieces lodged in the intestines of animals that cause blockages that become lethal.
While styrofoam coolers are certainly not the only problem that is a concern, they are a major one and now a cooler company has created an alternative that may help put the styrofoam cooler out of business for good.
Igloo’s has created a new product called Recool that is made from tree pulp instead of those tiny foam beads. The Recool promises to hold 20 ice-packed cans cool for up to 12 hours, and hold water for up to five days. According to Igloo, it can be dried out and re-used for multiple outings. And when the cooler eventually begins to crumble, wood pulp products can generally be shredded and tossed in your garden where they will biodegrade.
The cooler will run you a cool $10 making it a very affordable option that sets precedence for how the future of the industry should react. The official release date for the new cooler is just in time for summer as it will be rolled out May 1st.
While this is a great step forward in the industry, we need to continue tackling other products that continue to use styrofoam. It is estimated that Americans alone throw away 25 billion polystyrene coffee cups a year. While this number is absolutely gut wrenching, technology is allowing us to create new and exciting products such as the Recool and should help us invent a cleaner future that we are looking forward to be part of.