Polystyrene Reduction

Information on Polystyrene “styrofoam” and Plastic Straws

(includes sources for information on our Town Meeting Survey)

Polystyrene plastic is made from petrochemicals. Polystyrene is commonly used in food packaging, where it comes in two forms, rigid and foam. The rigid form is used for clear food containers, plates, bowls, beverage cups and lids, utensils, and straws. The foam form (sometimes known by its trade name styrofoam) is used for plates, insulated beverage cups and bowls, clamshell food containers, and trays. You can recognize it by its resin code of 6. Foam is also used for shipping packaging such as “peanuts”, but this is not usually marked with the code.

Health hazard – Polystyrene is based on styrene, a neurotoxin and probable carcinogen based on benzene. Styrene leaching increases with temperature and with certain foods (alcohol, oils or fat). Other risks include synthetic chemical additives such as colorants.

Basic Facts on Polystyrene



Ways that Plastic and specifically Polystyrene Makes us Sick


Microplastics found in lungs and blood of humans



Microplastics in the air.



World Health Organization facts on the probable carcinogenic nature of polystyrenes

https://monographs.iarc.fr/agents-classified-by-the-iarc/ , WHO, Lyon, 2018.

Depressed from reading these facts? We are too, but you can go on a Plastic Diet and this site shows you how.

Number of straws used daily and annually in the U.S.


Small percentage of polystyrene recycled nationwide.


Towns and States Banning Polystyrene


This restaurant friendly website offers alternatives to plastic and polystyrene bags, containers and straws. It also lists the states that have banned polystyrene, and non-compostable straws.