Polystyrene IS a smart and sustainable product.
Polystyrene is an excellent energy source that can provide heat and light for many communities. At over 16,000 BTUs per pound, polystyrene contains twice the energy of coal and burns clean. Likewise, a hot beverage cup made of polystyrene requires about 50% less energy to produce than a similar coated paperboard cup with a corrugated cup sleeve. Reduced energy consumption is an established way to slow global warming.
Polystyrene also helps reduce greenhouse gases and lower our carbon footprint. Foam polystyrene cups weigh between two and five times less than comparabe paper packaging products. This translates to a reduced carbon footprint with fewer air emissions, as well as less gasoline consumption when transporting products.
Using polystyrene foodservice packaging instead of reusables conserves water and energy required to clean reusable products. Coffee lovers may be surprised to learn that one average weight polystyrene foam cup produces significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than two average weight coated paperboard cups or one average weight coated paperboard cup with a sleeve.
There is an emerging market for recycled polystyrene. Institutions and municipalities are beginning to institute effective programs to reclaim polystyrene as a valuable resource. Most single-use, coated paperboard foodservice packaging materials are not recycled because the coating and paper cannot be separated economically.
Designed with Food Safety in Mind
The food safety benefits of polystyrene foodservice packaging are undisputed. The United States Food and Drug Administration regulates the safety of food-contact packaging and has approved the use of polystyrene since 1958. The anti-bacterial properties that polystyrene foodservice products offer can help in providing sanitary foodservice and preventing the spread of disease.