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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Operations > Operations Strategy & Management > Waste Management

Can't we recycle Styrofoam? Is Styrofoam Causing the Pacific Garbage Patch?

Styrofoam take out containers can't be recycled if they have food on them... huh?

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You know what we're talking about... those Styrofoam takeout containers.

The answer, according to Environment California:

Less than 1% of the 165,000 pounds of Styrofoam we use in California every year gets recycled.

Industry is claiming that we don't need to ban Styrofoam because we can just recycle it -- despite the simple fact that we don't. Write to your Assembly member, and call on your representative to support immediate action to ban Styrofoam takeout containers.

Why so little? The main reasons include:

  1. Once you get food on Styrofoam, you can no longer recycle it.

  2. It's 95 percent air, meaning it's bulky and expensive to ship and store -- and then you need to degas it.

  3. Processed, recycled Styrofoam yields a low-grade substance which isn't really much good for anything.

  4. Very few facilities actually have the equipment to recycle Styrofoam in California.

The fact that it's so difficult to recycle is why it so often ends up in the ocean -- and why, as we fight to stop the waste that's fueling the Pacific Garbage Patch, we need to make sure we stop using so much Styrofoam.

Please, take action today, and write to your Assmeblymember, calling for a ban on Styrofoam takeout containers.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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