A good portable cooler is a must-have for outdoor summer fun, and now Igloo is making a $10 cooler that’s biodegradable to boot. An eco-friendly alternative to styrofoam coolers, the Recool is made from recycled paper pulp and alkyl ketene dimer, a natural binding and waxing agent.
The cooler can hold about 20 12-ounce cans and up to 75 pounds, so it’s perfect for a day at the beach, pool or a picnic. Igloo promises that unlike its foam counterparts, it won’t chip, break or make annoying squeaking noises. It also has molded carrying handles for easy transport, as well as four drink holders.
Once you’re done with the Recool, you can rest assured that it’s completely biodegradable, but that doesn’t mean it’s only good for one use. In fact, Igloo says it can hold ice for up to 12 hours and will hold water without leaking for up to five days. Once you empty the cooler and air it out, you can keep using it again and again.
This is good news for those who know about the adverse environmental impact polystyrene — often used as insulation in classic coolers — can have. According to No More Styrofoam, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the environmental threat posed by polystyrene, it can take anywhere from 500 to one million years for styrofoam to naturally decompose. That means a ton of styrofoam ends up in landfills. Additionally, styrofoam absorbs pollutants in ocean water like DDT and oil, which are then consumed by fish, becoming part of the food chain.
Due to the impact on the environment, many municipalities across the country are banning the sale of polystyrene foam products. San Diego, California, recently instituted a ban, and the city ordinance will also regulate plastic straws and utensils.
“The Polystyrene Foam and Single-Use Plastic Ordinance will help San Diego reach its zero waste goals and preserve our beautiful beaches and other public spaces,” Mario X. Sierra, director of the city’s Environmental Services Department, told Times of San Diego.
Igloo says that the Recool is legal in every city, county, state and country.