I would like to call attention to a concern surrounding the gameplay of Humans versus Zombies. It is not uncommon during and in the wake of HvZ to find Nerf darts scattered on sidewalks and landscaped parts of campus. It may seem harmless to leave bullets on the ground after they have been fired at the “enemy,” but the ecological repercussions can be immense.
As a student recycling employee, I called Hasbro’s company number and requested product ingredients for Nerf darts to determine their recyclability locally.
I received information that Nerf foam contains polystyrene, a petroleum-based, non-biodegradable substance. In addition to being non-recyclable within our region, polystyrene is noted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be harmful, even fatal to wildlife nearby if ingested. Nerf darts can travel easily through storm drains and gutters, out to creeks, rivers and the ocean.
Pollution and littering may be considered somewhat bygone environmental ills, but the threat of waterway contamination persists.
Nerf darts, like many items, highlight the inefficiency of modern product design. With chemical advances, we have been eager to create products cheaply on a massive scale, though we often have no way to properly dispose of them or make them less toxic to the environment upon discarding them.
In addition to lobbying Hasbro to create less harmful Nerf darts (which I wholeheartedly encourage), all participants of HvZ please be mindful of the impact abandoned darts have. Humans and zombies, please collect Nerf darts and reuse them in a practical or creative way.
At the end of the day, everyone is human, and we all have to share this environment.