Plastic Litter and Waste Reduction Campaign
The Problem of Polystyrene
Polystyrene food packaging is a serious and readily preventable source of marine debris pollution. Polystyrene food packaging is lightweight and aerodynamic, so it is easily blown into gutters and storm drains even when "properly" disposed of. Polystyrene is also very brittle, so when littered it quickly breaks into small pieces making cleanup impossible.
377,579 tons of polystyrene are produced in California alone, including 154,808 tons of food service packaging! That's 154,808 tons of over-processed plastics designed to head straight to the landfill after a use time of a minute or less, the time it takes you to drink your coffee and toss the cup.
Once in the marine environment polystyrene kills marine wildlife because it mimics food but causes starvation or choking if ingested. Polystyrene food packaging contributes disproportionally to oceanic plastic pollution. Over 80% of this plastic pollution comes from urban litter.
No polystyrene food packaging is recycled anywhere in California, although the plastic industry has attempted to recycle polystyrene transport packaging (at a cost of thousands of dollars per ton). Most curbside recycling programs in California do not accept any polystyrene plastic resin because it contaminates recycling and is too easily accidentally littered in transportation.
Polystyrene food packaging is extremely costly to local governments, some of whom are required by law to achieve "zero" trash litter in impaired waterways. Litter clean-up costs billions, and yet is still ineffective. Polystyrene litter must be stopped at its source.
More about Polystyrene:
CAW Recycling News
Mark Murray's Blog
Plastic & Marine Debris News