Polystyrene foam foodservice products are not manufactured with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or any other ozone-depleting chemicals. [i]
Furthermore, research has not shown a clear link between polystyrene foam and damage to marine life. The source of plastics that are the greatest concern to aquatic animals is unknown, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [ii]
Foam cups insulate better than popular alternatives. Often, when not using foam cups, users will stack two cups to protect their hands from hot temperatures. This practice doubles the amount of solid waste by volume, and can result in more than five times as much solid waste by weight. [iii]
Recycled foam is used in eco-initiatives such as alternative energy production and “green” buildings. Recycled foam is an extremely effective insulation material, and can be combined with concrete for an alternative building construction material. [iv]
Foam recycling in California protects the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and landfill use. Many communities across the state have already implemented a curbside pickup program for foam recycling, and the rest of the state would benefit from doing the same.
What goes into your foam cup… other than your drink? Foam products are non-toxic. No regulatory body in the world has classified polystyrene as a human carcinogen, and scare tactics should not persuade serious policymakers.
Unlike some popular alternative materials, foam products are only made with one material – polystyrene, which is composed of carbon and hydrogen. This simplicity makes foam recycling very efficient, and when carbon and hydrogen are properly incinerated, the only byproducts are carbon dioxide, water, and trace amounts of ash. [v]
[i] Natural Resources Defense Council Environmental Defense Fund Friends of the Earth. Statement of Support for The Foodservice Packaging Institute’s Fully Halogenated Chlorofluorocarbon Voluntary Phaseout Program. 12 April 1988.
[ii] Courtney Arthur, Joel Baker, and Holly Bamford, Editors, Proceedings of the International Research Workshop on the Occurrence, Effects, and Fate of Microplastic Marine Debris, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (Jan. 2009) available at http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/projects/pdfs/Microplastics.pdf
[iii] Franklin Associates, Ltd. Final Peer-Reviewed Report: Life Cycle Inventory of Polystyrene Foam, Bleached Paperboard, and Corrugated Paperboard Foodservice Products (Prepared for The Polystyrene Packaging Council, March 2006).
[v] The Polystyrene Packaging Council, Polystyrene and Its Raw Material, Styrene: Manufacture and Use, November 1993, pp. 27–28.