Thursday, November 22, 2007

Styrofoam woes


Thanks for coming to look at our website.

Quite a few commenters have posted on the environmental problems with styrofoam.

Our group has discussed this, but we began to knit the ornaments right after we started the group and didn't give ourselves any time to figure out possible problems before we started.

We can't make them without any styrofoam as some of the balls were already purchased and used. However, we are using several options for any new balls we make:

  1. ornaments that don't need any stuffing
  2. recycled plastic bags to stuff
  3. a recycled plastic bag filled with reused packing paper
  4. reusing styrofoam balls leftover from a school
Some people had suggested stuffing them with beans, rice, etc. but that won't work as the stretchy nature of knit fabric would make the balls no longer round as the weight of the filling pulled it down. If you have any other suggestions of light, environmentally-friendly material, please let us know! We are going to be working on them over the next few weeks as well so we will happily accept local donations of materials.


Leigh-Anne Dennison said...

A few additional ideas for you...

1) recycle the "too-small-to-wrap-anything" remanents of holiday gift wrap
2) shredded junk mail
3) papermache balls (available at some craft stores or easy to make using a balloon and news paper
4) washed by unwearable (runned or ripped) pantyhose or tights
5) phantom socks aka socks without partners (they are used to being "balled up" too!)
6) dryer lint
7) recycled pillow filling (when pillows are no longer supportive for healthful sleeping, the insides can be recycled to fill smaller pillows, toys, etc.)

Hope you find these ideas helpful!


Braizyn said...

While I agree that styrofoam is perhaps not the best filler, it most certainly is not the styrofoam being used as disposable food containers that are used, and tossed, within 30 seconds of use.

The styrofoam fillers to be used for the ornaments will be around for a long time, as long as the ornament. The give a definite shape to the ball. And they're clean. I would be concerned about old plastic bags that were used to transport produce or any other item that had not been cleaned.

The amount of items we are making and the time in which we had to do it was a very small window.

The issue of using pre-made and/or donated Styrofoam fillers for items that will be used for many years, in the great scheme of things, I see as a tempest in a teapot.

I appreciate the concern, and alternatives that folks have posted.

Tikkunknitter said...

Save money, and the planet! I've used shredded plastic bags or dry cleaning plastic successfully on knitted fruit and a knitted dreidel. You can see them on my Flickr account and here: ( Works just fine.

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