Styro Free San Diego
Plastic foam, commonly known as Styrofoam™, endangers human health and the environment. San Diego Coastkeeper helps local restaurants reduce Styrofoam™ use.
Click below to learn more:
- Styrofoam™ pollution and health risks associated with Styrene
- Printable educational materials
Plastic foam, more commonly known as Styrofoam™, has negative effects on the environment and human health.
- Styrofoam™ is bad for the environment Plastic foam is among the top three forms of litter found during beach cleanups, and peaked at 25,000 pieces in 2010. Plastic foam debris does not biodegrade, but breaks down into very small pieces that birds and marine wildlife mistake for food.
- Styrofoam™ is bad for your health The National Toxicology Program lists Styrene, the primary component of Styrofoam™, as a carcinogen. Styrene leaches from the foam when it contacts oily, fatty foods, or when heated. Food represents a significant source of styrene exposure to the American population.
Restaurants have alternatives to Styrofoam™ packaging that won’t hurt the environment or your pocketbook. A wide range of biodegradable, recyclable or compostable packaging options are available, but some options are not beneficial to the environment or viable for our recycling infrastructure. The best options are recyclable plastic or post-consumer paper.
A Comparison of Packaging Alternatives
Get Involved in Styrofoam™ Reduction
Submit your information to join our list of community members who support the reduction of Styrofoam™ in restaurants in San Diego County and to receive updates about foam reduction policies.
Printable Educational Materials
Print these small cards and leave them with your favorite restaurants that still use plastic foam. Or fill out the form above if you want printed cards from us:
- Biodegradable: “Claims that a product is “degradable," “biodegradable” or “photodegradable” mean that the materials will break down and return to nature within a reasonably short time after customary disposal,” according to Bureau of Consumer Protection.
- Compostable: “'Compostable' claims would be appropriate on products or packages that will break down, or become part of usable compost (for example, soil conditioning material or mulch), in a safe and timely manner in home compost piles,” according to Bureau of Consumer Protection. Many packaging materials promoted as compostable can only be composted in facilities with high temperature and humidity levels. This means that these materials must be separated from trash, collected and transported to the proper facilities. Most cities do not offer these types of collection programs or composting facilities.
- Pre-consumer recycled material: “…a waste product of a manufacturing process, diverted from the solid waste stream and not normally reused by industry during the original manufacturing process,” according to Bureau of Consumer Protection.
- Post-consumer recycled material: having been used and recycled for use in another consumer product
- Recyclable: “'Recyclable' claims on labels and advertisements mean that the products can be collected, separated or recovered from the solid waste stream and used again, or reused in the manufacture or assembly of another package or product through an established recycling program,” according to Bureau of Consumer Protection.
- PLA (polylactic acid): resin made from corn starch, can be used in the manufacturing process of alternative packaging materials
- Bagasse: fibrous natural byproduct of sugarcane refinement, can be used in the manufacturing process of alternative packaging materials
- Styrene: an industrial chemical, one of the primary components of plastic foam, and has recently been listed as a carcinogen by the 12th Report on Carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program
“It takes three major components to create change: the manufacturer, the retailer and the customer. Often, the customer demands change, and it happens because the retailer and the manufacturer want to make money. But I think that it’s our job to offer products that are sustainable and positive. Right now we sell junk and spend millions on marketing to convince our customers that it's good. Why shouldn’t we just do good in the first place?”
Kristen Buchanan, Founder /CEO of GoodOnYa deli
"At MIHO Gastrotruck, we strive to source ingredients of the highest quality from local farms and vendors that share our passion for food. In order for these farms to provide us with great product throughout the seasons, they require a clean, sustainable environment. We take it upon ourselves to contribute to maintaining a clean environment by choosing to avoid Styrofoam™ and using biodegradable packaging to serve our guests. We hope that by helping to create a cleaner, waste-free environment, local farms can continue to produce amazing product for us as well as generations to come."
Christina Ng, MIHO Gastrotruck