Using and recycling foam products responsibly is one of GoFoam’s core environmental values.
Through its efforts to increase consumer awareness about foam recycling, Dart Container Corporation is helping to protect the environment and preserve our natural resources.
- Polystyrene foam foodservice products have not been manufactured with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or any other ozone-depleting chemicals since the 1980s. In fact, Dart never used CFCs in manufacturing molded foam cups.[i]
- The environmental impact from the materials and energy used in making paper cups, as well as the emissions from incinerating or burying paper cups, exceeds the impact of making and disposing of cups made from plastic foam. [ii]
- Foam cups insulate better than plastic-coated paper cups. Paper cup users will often stack 2 cups together to protect their hands from hot temperatures – this practice doubles the amount of waste for plastic-coated paper cups over foam cups.
- Recycled foam is used in eco-initiatives such as alternative energy production and “green” buildings. Recycled foam is an extremely inexpensive insulation material, and is often added to solar panels and windmill blades.
When it comes to foam, it’s not the product that creates issues, it’s human behavior when improperly disposing of it. Rather than discussing potential foam bans, the focus should be on educating our fellow Midwesterners about proper disposal for the sake of beauty and ecology.
Switching from foam to alternatives in the Midwest is not an effective way to deal with litter, and will not reduce costs associated with litter cleanup. Eliminating polystyrene will force individuals and businesses to use products such as glass, aluminum, paper, and wax-covered cardboard, all of which create litter. There is no evidence to show that litter-control costs declined in the cities that have already banned foam products, because a foam ban will not stop people from littering.
“The amount of litter will not change, only its composition.” – Jean-Michel Cousteau, Environmentalist.[iii]
Polystyrene foam is often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company that is used for insulation, not food packaging products.
[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] Naj, Amal Kumar. “Foam Cups Damage Environment Less Than Paper Cups, Study Says.” The Wall Street Journal. 1 February 1991. See also: Hocking, Martin B. “Is Paper Better Than Plastic?” Consumers’ Research October 1991: 28-29; Hocking, Martin B. “Reusable and Disposable Cups: An Energy-Based Evaluation.” 18 Environmental Management 6. 1994: 894; Franklin Associates, Ltd., Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis of Foam Polystyrene and Bleached Paperboard Containers. June 1990: 4-1–4-29; Budiansky, Stephen. “Being Green Isn’t Always What It Seems.” U.S. News
and World Report. 26 August 1996: 42.
[iii]Graph above: JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU, EDITORIAL, TARGET LITTERBUGS, NOT PRODUCTS, TO CLEAN UP BEACHES, VENTURA COUNTY STAR (DEC. 18, 2005)