DID YOU KNOW? Many docks use plastic foam to stay afloat.
DID YOU KNOW? Plastic foam breaks off the dock and pollutes our rivers?
Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is better known by the brand name Styrofoam®. We’ll simply call it plastic foam. While plastic foam is commonly used as packaging and for disposable containers, due to its low cost it’s also a popular option for dock floatation along the Connecticut River and tributaries.
However, as plastic foam degrades and breaks apart, it pollutes our waterways and chokes our wildlife. Even worse, as plastic foam dock floats break apart, docks become structurally compromised and sink lower in the water and closer to the ground, increasing contact with objects and compounding the problem.
Unfortunately, plastic foam is common in aquatic environments. It’s one of the most persistant types of waste collected at the Source to Sea Cleanup. In 2018, volunteers removed 1.76 cubic yards of polystyrene from our waterways, including 96 pieces of polystyrene dock floats. Plastic foam is difficult to clean up because it breaks into small bits that are nearly impossible to collect.
This work is funded by a grant from the Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup.