August 15, 2004

Styrofoam Cafeteria Trays

Category: Environment


Washington: This is one of the worst examples of "Muda" I've ever seen. Actually, it may not fit that definition precisely, but it's incredibly wasteful: At the "Old Post Office" in Washington, which has been converted into a mall-style food court, you don't get your food on a normal cafeteria tray, insted you get a throw-away foam tray. Posted by Nick at August 15, 2004 9:58 PM



In my employer's cafeteria, you can choose one of these flimsy foam trays or a large re-usable plastic tray. Almost everyone grabs the foam tray. Why? I'm guessing it's because the reusable trays are scuffed from use. People would rather use something that appears pristine. I estimate about 500 foam trays get sent to the landfill from my workplace everyday. Shocking.

One of my co-workers collects the foam trays and re-uses them as disposable painter palettes.

Don't get me started on the plastic forks and spoons. I throw them in a bag in my desk drawer. Every couple weeks I take them home and clean them in the dishwasher.

Posted by: Val Ann C at August 15, 2004 7:25 PM

Surely papier mache would be cheaper and at least that could be recycled ? *sigh*

Posted by: peterg22 at August 22, 2004 12:17 PM

how can people use so much stryfoam. I try to inform people but they just laugh . If this continues one day the Earth will be made of stryfoam!

Posted by: marie at September 23, 2004 7:32 PM

Unfortunately, disposable items is a hot trend right now. I think it's following on the tailwind of the whole anti-bacterial craze. Disposable items are being pushed right now as a way to go about your daily business while minimizing your contact with unpleasant things that may carry germs, or that people tend to think of as simply "icky." I think the dumbest thing I've seen so far is the disposable toilet brushes. You pop one on the handle, scrub the toilet, and then release it and flush it away.

DUH! Maybe that's what rubber gloves and some cleaner are for. It doesn't help that the advertisements demonstrate "the old fashioned way" by showing someone using a competing item like a retarded monkey having an epileptic fit. I'm convinced one of these days someone will be trying to sell a "revolutionary" new toaster by showing someone using an "old fashioned" one by trying to cram the bread in at a 90-degree angle to the slots.

Anyway, this new disposable craze seems to be an offshoot of the anti-bacterial craze in that it's trying to make stuff "cleaner" and "more convenient" by keeping people from touching the business ends of toilet brushes and junk. It's not any easier, and hideously wasteful. It's an interesting paradox, how companies will claim to be environmentally conscious on one hand, and then generate senseless products that choke up landfills on the other.

Posted by: Onikaze at September 24, 2004 12:11 PM