Styrofoam Cups - Environmental Impact

by Sunny Ou Eco-Friendly Packaging for Food and Drinks

Styrofoam cups are convenient because they are cheap and light weight, but Styrofoam cups can have a negative impact on the environment.


When most people refer to “Styrofoam” they mean the single use plastic that is white and holds food and beverages. This is a mistake because "Styrofoam” refers to a more durable, blue insulation material trademarked by Dow Chemical. However, in order to make the article easy to understand, we will use the word “Styrofoam” throughout.


Styrofoam Cups - Environmental Impact


Styrofoam is a major environmental problem. Used in product packages and the shipping industry, the world produces tons of it each year. The fact that Styrofoam is non-biodegradable adds to the ecological impact. Landfills are filling up at a record rate and Styrofoam is one reason. Styrofoam has the potential to affect the entire ecological system of this planet.



The Earth Resource Foundation reports that Styrofoam manufacturers were the fifth largest producer of toxic waste in 1986. Over 90,000 workers face exposure to the effects of styrene, the material in Styrofoam, each year in industries such as rubber and fiberglass manufacturing companies. Health effects from exposure to styrene are irritation of the skin, eyes and respiratory tract and gastrointestinal problems. Chronic exposure affects the nervous system, causing symptoms like depression, headache, fatigue and weakness, and minor effects on kidney function and blood.



Styrofoam is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable. According to Washington University, Styrofoam takes 500 years to decompose; it cannot be recycled, so the Styrofoam cups dumped in landfills are there to stay. With enough Styrofoam cups produced each day to circle the earth if lined up end to end, the potential for major ecological impact is great.



Styrene leaches into foods and drinks served in Styrofoam containers, and according to the Earth Resource Foundation, the manufacture of Styrofoam releases large amounts of ozone into the atmosphere, causing respiratory and environmental issues. In addition, with billions of Styrofoam cups used yearly in convenience stores, restaurants and lunchrooms ending up in landfills, some cities have banned the use of Styrofoam.



Styrofoam and Styrofoam products fill up 30 percent of our landfill space, and landfills are fast becoming full. A Recycling Revolution reports that packaging material makes up one-third of an average dump. The U.S. is the biggest trash producer in the world, filling America’s landfills at an alarming rate. Five percent of the world’s population generate 40 percent of the world’s trash. On average, each one of us puts out about 5 pounds of trash a day. This adds up to about a ton of trash per person every year that eventually ends up in a landfill.


Land and Water Pollution


Americans reportedly throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year. Styrofoam cups are non-biodegradable. Instead of breaking down completely overtime, Styrofoam cups break into tiny pieces and stay in the environment for hundreds of years. This harmful substance is difficult to clean up. Styrofoam escapes waste collection systems and accumulates on land and in water because it is easily windblown. Pieces of Styrofoam show up in our parks, forests, beaches, oceans and rivers. The San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation claims that its volunteers collected 12,575 pieces of Styrofoam from their beaches in 2017. The amount of single use plastic littered on our planet’s land and water is staggering.


Harm to Animal Life

Pollution caused by Styrofoam is not only unpleasant to look at but it is also harmful to our planet’s animal life. Animals often mistake Styrofoam as food and ingest it. This causes harm or death due to starvation, choking or chemical buildup in the digestive system.



The solution to the Styrofoam problem is finding and using alternative materials. If reusable dishes are not an option in your office, recycled paper products are the next best alternative, according to Earth Resource Foundation. Paper recycling also saves trees and contributes to an overall savings when compared to Styrofoam. Paper products are biodegradable and non-toxic to the environment. Easily recycled, paper is good for shipping and product packaging.

Recommended: New Generation Recyclable Paper Cup | Water-Based Coating Paper Cups


Our water-based coating paper cups are made from sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable materials. Lined with plant-based resin (NOT petroleum or plastic based). Recyclable paper cups are the eco-friendly solution to supplying your customers with your most popular coffee drinks or juice.

Most disposable paper cups are not biodegradable. The paper cups are lined with polyethylene (a type of plastic). Recyclable packaging helps to reduce landfill, save trees and create a healthier world for future generations.

Recyclable | Re-pulpable | Compostable | Biodegradable

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About Sunny Ou Freshman   Eco-Friendly Packaging for Food and Drinks

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Joined APSense since, September 24th, 2021, From Nanning, China.

Created on Dec 13th 2021 02:23. Viewed 97 times.


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