Sure, foam packaging is convenient. It keeps drinks chilled longer and makes a handy to-go container. But as we all know, using expanded polystyrene (EPS) is bad—not just for us, but for the environment as well. Here’s why:
• It’s not biodegrade, sustainable or easily recycled.
• The synthetic chemicals it’s made from can contaminate both food and drinks.
• Animals sometimes die when they eat it or take it in from surrounding water.
Even though we are aware of the harmful impact of EPS on the environment, some businesses are reluctant to stop using it—primarily because of the financial impact to their bottom line. Finding an affordable replacement can be challenging, especially when it can be up to five times pricier than polystyrene.
However, some restaurants have discovered that it is actually more expensive not to make the switch. For instance, after considerable pressure from its customers, Jamba Juice ditched polystyrene cups in favor of paper.
Another restaurant chain, McDonald’s, will be replacing plastic foam cups with recycled ones by the end of 2018. They are also planning to eliminate foam packaging from their global business. Hopefully this will help curtail the use of foam packaging in growing markets, where fast-food companies are expanding.
Other restaurants, like Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robins, plan on introducing a foam cup recycling program in their stores.
Thankfully, more and more businesses are following this trend. They are listening to their customers and moving away from foam and other plastics.