Single-use food ware made of Polystyrene foam EPS (trade name “Styrofoam”) is a health and environmental hazard from start to finish.
EPS leaches toxic substances, especially in hot drinks and alcohol, reheated leftovers, and oily and acidic foods. School districts in Oregon are working towards eliminating EPS and polystyrene food-ware.
Tens of thousands of workers in the manufacturing of it are exposed to styrene, leading to severe illness and deaths associated with cancers and heart diseases.
EPS manufacturing contributes to human-caused climate change and leads to a dangerous air pollutant at ground level called tropospheric ozone, which is associated with nausea, asthma and bronchitis. If burned or incinerated, toxic carbon monoxide is released into the air.
Recycling of this material is not practical, as these items are generated in food service locations that are often small businesses. Converting dirty EPS to oil is cost prohibitive to the average food service business and is not recyclable.
This lightweight material is mostly air and chemicals, and is soiled. Used once for mere minutes, it can take 500 years or more to decompose. This material absorbs toxins, is fragile, easily broken up into micro-plastics, is consumed by land and marine animals causing harm, death and, ultimately, entering the food chain.
More than 400 cities and municipalities across the U.S. have banned single use Polystyrene foam food-ware. Portland banned it in the early 1990s.
Eugene what are we waiting for?