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Environmental - Polystyrene Packaging

Polystyrene Plastic - Smart Solutions for a Healthy World

Clean, convenient, cost effective and eco-mindful - today's plastic foodservice products play a significant role in our culture, our health, our lives - every day.

Modern polystyrene packaging has long been a preferred material of the foodservice industry because it insulates better, keeps food fresher longer, costs less than alternative coated paperboard products and uses less resources.

With today's growing concerns about the environment and climate change, polystyrene packaging solutions are becoming more recognized as environmentally-preferable for a host of reasons including their lightweight properties. Polystyrene packaging makes sense for business, consumers, and our planet.

Polystyrene foam foodservice is safe, sanitary and represents no adverse health effects. It has positive environmental and energy benefits compared to non-polystyrene foam foodservice alternatives. Biodegradable and compostable materials, when available, have limited applicability and proper venues for disposal.

  • Food Contact Safety - For more then 50 years, the US Food & Drug Administration has approved the use of foam for foodservice products.
  • Disposables vs. Reusables - Studies show that plastic foodservice items are more sanitary than reusable china and glassware. Foam does not require water and energy for cleaning after each use.
  • Styrene Safety - To date, no regulatory body anywhere in the world has classified styrene as a known human carcinogen. Styrene naturally occurs in the foods we eat such as beef, strawberries and cinnamon. Most people are exposed to styrene daily through the air we breathe, mainly from auto emissions and cigarette smoke.
  • Environmental Footprint - Polystyrene foodservice packaging uses less energy and resources to manufacture than comparable paper based products. The total energy requirements for polystyrene PS foam products are generally lower than total energy requirements for the equivalent number (heavier) PLA or paperboard products. Total energy requirements for LDPE-coated cold cups, LDPE-coated plates, and molded pulp plates are not significantly different from energy requirements for the corresponding PS products.
  • Landfills, Biodegradation and Compostables - Plastic foodservice items contribute to about 1% of a landfill's content. Paper is more than 30%. Landfills are specifically created to minimize biodegradation great for foam but not for alternative materials designed to biodegrade or to be composted.
  • Litter - People's careless behavior creates litter; not a product or material like polystyrene foam.
  • Recyclable - Not only is foam recycled, it's the most recycled foodservice material. Polystyrene and other plastic foodservice products are the only recyclable option these days. Coated paper foodservice products are not recycled and alternative materials need facilities that handle composting or biodegradation.
  • Bans are Ineffective - Studies done on foam bans already in place show that they negatively impact the business environment as business and consumers take on increased costs of alternative products. Further, the studies found that litter did not go away. Instead, other materials now made up the litter.

Commodore is a proud member of the American Chemistry Council (ACC). For more information regarding the environmentally responsible use of PS Foam, refer to the following link:

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