National Coffee Day: Enjoy a ‘cup of Joe’ with a side of polystyrene info

For many Americans, every day is coffee day.

But Monday, September 29, is officially “National Coffee Day” in the United States. In honor of our caffeinated friend’s special day, the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group would like to share some information on polystyrene foodservice products.

  • Polystyrene foodservice packaging works. Plastic foodservice packaging helps keep our food fresh, hot or cold and ready to eat. Foam plastic insulates extremely well to maintain food temperature, so we can enjoy food the way it’s meant to taste – and keeps our fingers from burning if the food or beverage is hot.
  • Polystyrene is approved as safe for use in foodservice by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the agency charged with scientific review and approval of food contact applications, has determined for more than 50 years that polystyrene is safe for use in foodservice products. The FDA has determined for more than 50 years that polystyrene is safe for use in foodservice products.
  • Polystyrene foodservice saves fuel, energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Polystyrene foodservice uses less energy and resources to manufacture than alternatives. And as very lightweight plastic, shipping polystyrene saves precious fuel, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Recycling solutions for post-use foodservice are emerging. More than 20 percent of Californians can recycle polystyrene foam in curbside programs.
  • Used polystyrene foodservice can help contribute an energy solution, too. Polystyrene foodservice also can be used as a source of energy.  Polystyrene actually has more captured energy than coal. This energy is released when municipal solid waste is processed at waste-to-energy recovery facilities. The U.S. has 86 such facilities that can recapture this energy and put it to good use, creating a domestic energy source to power homes and business.
  • Although litter should be reduced, polystyrene foam foodservice is a very small part of litter (1.5%). Polystyrene foam foodservice packaging makes up only 1.5 percent of litter, according to a May 2012 national report by environmental consulting firm Environmental Resources Planning. Studies have also shown that banning a specific item like polystyrene foam foodservice will not solve the litter issue – it will merely change the type of litter that still needs to be reduced.

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