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Busting Polystyrene Myths

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Friday, October 3rd, 2014
By Jeff

The American Chemistry Counsel has just published an excellent piece of literature that busts some of the crazy polystyrene myths that are floating around the internet.  These myths were developed by people and groups who have a specific agenda and are designed to frighten and intimidate people into their specific narrative.

Myth #1 – Foamed Polystyrene is not safe for food contact.  BUSTED – The US Food & Drug Administration has determined for over 50 years that polystyrene is safe for use in foodservice products.   In fact when asked to comment about the safety of foamed polystyrene products used for foodservice, the National Toxicology Program Director, Dr. Linda Birnbaum was quoted as saying  “…in finished products, certainly [poly]styrene is no an issue.”

Myth #2 – Foamed Polystyrene makes up a huge portion of litter.  BUSTED – According to a May 2012 national report by environmental consulting firm Environmental Resources Planning, foam foodservice items makes up 1.5% of all litter.  Having said this, we must state that ALL litter is bad!  In fact we’ve mentioned many times in the past within these blog pages that local governments should focus their efforts on busting litter bugs and educating people about litter instead of whipping out the “ban pen”.  It’s been proven in communities that have banned one type of material in favor of another, that it did nothing regarding litter except trade one type of litter for another.

Myth #3 – Foamed Polystyrene can’t be recycled.  BUSTED – 20% of Californians can now recycle polystyrene foam items in their local curbside programs.  There are other communities that have jumped on that bandwagon and we support and applaud those efforts!

Myth #4 – Styrene = Polystyrene.  BUSTED – Polystyrene and styrene are two different substances.  Yes, polystyrene is made from styrene, but equating the two would be like saying diamonds are the same exact thing as carbon.  After all, diamonds are made from carbon.  But anybody who has purchased a diamond knows they they cost a lot more than a lump of carbon.

For more truthful information regarding foamed polystyrene and other environmental related questions, please visit our Green Room.  We’ve done our best to provide as much spin free truths that are readily verifiable.

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