Can Foam Food Service Products be Green?

Can Styrofoam Be Green?

No one claims to be in favor of waste or intentional harm to our environment. However, consumers and product manufacturers lament that it’s not always easy being green. People want convenience and efficiency—especially in food packaging.

Styrofoam food containers and coffee cups simply do a great job at keeping food and beverages warm, which is what people want.

In light of New York City’s recent ban on single-use styrofoam containers, consumers and food purveyors insist on alternatives up for the task of serving hot meals hot. For a city with street food and takeout every ten steps, this ban makes a huge statement to the rest of the country regarding sustainable food containers.

“We have better options, better alternatives, and if more cities across the country follow our lead and institute similar bans, those alternatives will soon become more plentiful and will cost less,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Can foam food service products be green?

Short answer, yes.

Long answer, yes, BUT it’s going to take some effort on the consumers part. Foam #6 food service containers need to be in recyclable condition. What does that mean? The containers must be wiped clean from residual food.

So your container is wiped clean, now can you recycle it? Don’t throw it in your bin just yet. You will need to check with your local recycling facility to confirm if they accept foam #6 for recycling. If they don’t accept foam, your next step is to locate a foam recycling center and drop off your containers yourself.

While manufacturers of foam food service products, like Dart, have been making huge strides in reducing their carbon footprint, for now, foam remains in the “it’s not always easy being green” category.

Foam Container Alternatives

Lucky for us, foam product manufacturers have proactively been developing “green” alternatives to styrofoam, like these Solo products by Dart, that make it easier for consumers to choose green options. A lot of these products  are made with plant-based renewable resources and are either FSC or SFI certified.

With the NYC ban taking effect July 1, supply and demand will better align for green alternatives like this Double Sided Poly Flexstyle® Paper Container, from Solo. The double-sided polyethylene coating on this alternative acts as a moisture barrier to keep liquid inside the container and minimizes sweating and condensation on the outside of the container, which keeps food nice and warm—just as its chef intended.

If foam recycling centers become more widespread, bans may not be necessary at all. However, if recycling foam isn’t an easy option for you, be on the lookout for these sustainable food service disposables.

Want more tips for going green? Visit the Sustainability tab of our blog to learn more.

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