Alternatives to Expanded Polystyrene

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About Expanded Polystyrene

Styrofoam ContainerStyrofoam is made up of expanded polystyrene, a naturally transparent thermoplastic and is ranked by the Environmental Service Protection as one of the most hazardous material created due to its toxicity and inability to be recycled. Products containing expanded polystyrene can be identified with the number “6” on the bottom.  

The City of Monrovia has over 150 food services establishments and Styrofoam is one of the most commonly used packaging material for take-out containers, bowls, plates, hot cups, and other food and beverage storage items. However, the material cannot be recycled, resulting in more harmful waste in our environment.   

Expanded Polystyrene's Effects on the Environment  

Expanded polystyrene food packaging is not biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable. It makes-up almost 80 percent of litter found in our bodies of water worldwide. 

Expanded polystyrene ends up as litter in our open spaces and bodies of water, and breaks down into small toxic pieces that our wildlife consume.  

It has been estimated that 165,00 tons of expanded polystyrene is used each year for packaging and food service purposes alone, with no meaningful recycling. Due to its inability to decompose, expanded polystyrene waste is consuming an ever increasing amount of space within landfill facilities.

Expanded Polystyrene in Monrovia  

With over 150 restaurants in Monrovia, we can collectively make a significant contribution to preserve our streets and open spaces by switching to alternative food packaging products.

What can you do to reduce polystyrene use?

  • As a resident, avoid buying any product that is marked with the number “6” recycling number.  
  • As business owners, contact your food packaging distributor about alternatives to expanded polystyrene food packaging, and consider switching to the following: 
  • aluminum 
  • coated and uncoated paper
  • any other plastic besides styrofoam 

Resources for Environmentally Acceptable Food Packaging: