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A word about Tropical Smoothie’s Styrofoam cups

Tropical smoothie and Styrofoam cups
Tropical smoothie is a company that has a brand that is deeply invested into healthy lifestyles. Most of their sandwich sizes are small portions with healthy ingredients. They offer among all fruit smoothies a green kale smoothie and a bright orange carrot smoothie. The company has been very innovative to retrofit their outlets with tropical décor and color schemes, though the company isn’t entirely green. Along with some of its innovative features Tropical Smoothie exclusively sells each of it’s healthy smoothies in a tall Styrofoam cup. It’s likely that they chose a Styrofoam cup over a traditional wax and paper cup for it’s properties in insulating refreshing smoothies. However, Styrofoam though inexpensive can be costly on the environment. Styrofoam is recyclable like plastic and cardboard, but the problem with Styrofoam and the economics of recycling is it’s only profitable to recycle Styrofoam in ridiculously large quantities. How ridiculous? Well you’re probably aware of the light-as-air quality of Styrofoam, it’s not very dense. A brick of Styrofoam the size of a car may only weigh a few pounds. To recycle it you’d need a ton, so imagine needing to gather a cube of Styrofoam the size of a football field. Even then after recycling it, a plant may not get very much money for the recycled Styrofoam, so there’s not much incentive to do so. In effect, the impracticality of recycling Styrofoam makes it unrecyclable. What’s important to note here is that though Styrofoam can be recycled, the truth of the matter is it probably won’t. After using Styrofoam in cups and boxes, it’ll be tossed like other types of trash into a landfill where they will attempt to degrade it which will take more than a lifetime, or incinerate it which saves space in landfills but emits some pretty horrible toxins into the atmosphere. The best solution here is just to not use Styrofoam in the first place. Other companies like Starbucks and Tropical Smoothie’s competitor both use paper based cups. Starbucks has it’s own patented corrugated cardboard cup. Jamba juice has a wax and paper cup for it’s smoothies though it lacks the insulation of Tropical Smoothie’s Styrofoam cups. What’s really needed here is a redesign. Tropical Smoothie’s brand is rooted in healthy living, and green and sustainable living should be part of the mix too. It wouldn’t make much sense to make healthy smoothies while at the end of the day polluting the same air and planet we’re on. Making the switch from Styrofoam to some other alternative wouldn’t have to hurt Tropical Smoothie’s bottom line either. Using a corrugated cardboard cup like Starbuck’s would be easier to recycle, it wouldn’t cost much more than Styrofoam either. If I was designing it, I’d actually leave the outside of the cup with raw brown cardboard for the texture. Have it feel like the outer edge of a coconut, make it feel biotic, and almost living compared to the sterile look of a white Styrofoam cup. Fill them with the different Smoothies Tropical Smoothie has, and practically have their kiwi smoothie look like you’re drinking it straight from a kiwi. If the switch to a new cup style would enforce their brand image, as a healthy and responsible vendor while not cutting their bottom line, then it’s a no-brainer.
Trash Day
http://www.benefits-of-recycling.com/styrofoamrecycling/