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Which disposable cup between plastic and styrofoam harm the environment the most? Which is the most unhealthy to use for the Earth for humans and animals?

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  • $\begingroup$ Both harm the environment much more than necessary, so why use either? $\endgroup$ – Erik May 20 at 7:24
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs in sustainability.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – arkaia Jun 13 at 20:48
  • $\begingroup$ The part of the question asking about which is most unhealthy to drink from is not about earth science but health or biological science. The other part, asking about the affect on the environment is about earth science. $\endgroup$ – Fred Jun 14 at 3:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred corrected thanks $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Jun 14 at 5:27
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    $\begingroup$ Not sure if this is on-topic (note that it being on-topic somewhere else does not make it off-topic here). But I definitely don't see how it can be "primarily opinion-based". People should think more before reflexively voting to close. $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Jun 14 at 18:27
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I suppose the answer depends on total lifecycle emissions as well as landfill environmental cost. For plastic I assume PP or PETE. For styrofoam production is based on polystyrene so some styrene emissions.

For lifecycle costs, emissions for manufacturing as well as energy (coal or gas power plant) need to be considered. Also are either recycled and in what proportion and does that impact lifestyle costs. Not an easy question, or one I can quantify. For simplicity l would look at two questions- production emissions of the actual cup and or feedstocks and recyclability of each cup. According to this link styrofoam is not recyclable so I would guess plastic is not as bad. https://sciencing.com/styrofoam-vs-plastic-cups-12400119.html Here it says polystyrene is usually not recyclable locally. https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/polystyrene-recycling.htm Here is a different perspective whose author suggests styrofoam lifecycle cost could be lower compared to some other options: https://daily.jstor.org/is-the-30-year-long-styrofoam-war-nearing-its-end/

Not exactly an answer but at least a start

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for answering. I was wandering if anyone cared. $\endgroup$ – Muze the good Troll. Jun 18 at 22:40

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