Responses to SunMt Styrofoam article
I received your comments on the Fresno Bee article from last Sunday. There are several
points that need response:

The Styrofoam used in the Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) mentioned in the article use a
Styrofoam that is expanded (or “blown”) with steam, rather than CFCs. In the past,
Styrofoam was a major contributor to CFC pollution; today, most Styrofoam used in the
US and Canada is CFC free. The Styrofoam used in the referenced project is totally CFC
While Styrofoam, indeed, does not biodegrade, the Styrofoam in this project becomes
part of the building; none is discarded.
The ICF’s used in the project contain over 50% recycled content. The manufacturer
recycles all post-industrial waste into the product.
While Styrofoam is a petroleum based product (as are virtually all plastics) the amount of
petroleum need to produce the Styrofoam used in this project is probably less than what is
used by the cars idling in the drive-through lines in one day in Fresno. Why aren’t we
addressing this problem?

I thought you would appreciate the actual facts related to this project.
George Burman

Similiar problems in Stockholm, Sweden. Here they burn most
household gargage to create about 20 percent of the electricity. . .
and get kodos for green soulutions. A FAR CRY from Zero Waste!
Thanks for the information.
Bruce Morris

Styrofoam isn't perfect and styrene is, indeed, noxious and hazardous. But using styrofoam
for building insulation - if they're actually using styrofoam; the article doesn't say which
polymer they're using - makes sense and reduces fossil fuel consumption. Foam insulation in a
building isn't going anywhere until the building's demolished, making the questions of
recycling and disposal moot. It's widely known that it's hazardous in a fire; it's for that reason
that it's covered with drywall when installed. (a warning to that effect is usually printed
directly on foam insulating boards) CFCs are no longer manufactured in the United States,
Canada or Europe, and foam board manufacturers quit using CFCs years before they went
off the market; that concern is at least fifteen years out of date.
Douglas Campbell

Editor’s Note: So Styrofoam is noxious and hazardous. Outgasses poison when heated. For
building it replace totally safe natural products.

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