And you have by no means made use of a styrofoam plate or just take-out box.

Quite a few moons in the past, correct immediately after graduate faculty, I had a job researching and composing entries for a supplies encyclopedia. I became the queen of arcane trivia about all the things from wooden and glass to elastomeric polymers and cementitious components. I was SO fun at cocktail parties!

Decades later on and one of my most enduring takeaways from that project is this: There are no this kind of matters as cement partitions and styrofoam cups. Cement is just a person component in concrete, so what we have are concrete partitions. The tale of styrofoam, or Styrofoam™ Model Insulation, to be precise, is a minor additional nuanced.

“Styrofoam” is the model title of insulation board manufactured by DuPont. It was identified by Dow in 1941. It is extruded polystyrene (XPS), and a different animal from expanded polystyrene (EP), which is employed to make foam cups, choose-out containers, and packaging. Styrofoam is made use of generally in development and is virtually generally blue.

Now of class some may perhaps preserve that this is a scenario of a genericized trademark. Aspirin, band-support, and kleenex, for instance, were all after trademark names that have grow to be generic phrases for the identical class of products and solutions built by various organizations. But even though both equally XPS and EP are created with polystyrene plastic, they use various systems and they have markedly distinctive employs – so the genericized trademark argument will not function very well listed here.

So why does this even make any difference? Am I just remaining an frustrating pedant? (Well, I may be, but that is not the issue.) And I am not getting a Styrofoam apologist – or a Dupont or Dow apologist, when we are at it. But the combat against one-use foam cups and containers is real. It is significant. And in the era of BANS ON PLASTIC BANS and dizzying disinformation campaigns, it feels crucial to be knowledgeable, educated, and to get the facts proper. When activists and journalist go around battling towards one thing of which they you should not know the right identify, it really is harder for all those arguments to be taken critically.

So there you have it. There are no these issues as styrofoam cups – and you absolutely won’t be able to put a styrofoam cup on a cement wall. And now you far too can be the lifetime of a cocktail occasion!

And you have never ever utilised a styrofoam plate or choose-out box.

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