Polystyrene is gross. We’re pretty sure if more people knew how it’s made and what its effects on human health and the planet are, no one would ever buy it - never mind eat or drink out of it - again.

Styrene, the main ingredient, is classified as a likely human carcinogen (means it can cause cancer). Add to that the fact that the toxins in the foam readily leach into food an drinks, a process that is accelerated by heat and contact with fatty and acidic foods. How’s that cup of coffee or tea taste now?

Polystyrene is horrible for the planet, too. Scientists estimate that it may persist in the environment for more than ONE MILLION YEARS. With Americans using 25 billion polystyrene cups per year and plastic-free, non-toxic alternatives readily available, it’s time to kick the polystyrene habit. Don’t worry, your caffeine will taste even better in a reusable cup.


More than 15 million metric tons of plastic (including polystyrene) enter the ocean each year. By 2025, experts predict that there will be one pound of plastic in the ocean for every three pounds of fish.

So what can you do? You can work on passing a local polystyrene ban! It’s an effective way to reduce plastic pollution and help grow the movement against single use plastics.

See our resources below for tools and tips for getting your State or local government to pass a polystyrene ban.


You can download our model “Beyond Plastics Law” and use it as a starting point with your elected representatives. It is drafted to ban plastic bags, polystyrene, stirrers and plastic straws (except upon request) and balloons. We recommend doing all these items at once, if possible!


If you’d prefer to limit your efforts to just polystyrene, you can use this sample petition language to start an online petition to raise awareness and put pressure on elected officials to act.


Check out our handy Polystyrene Fact Sheet – available to download as a PDF.

If you’d prefer, we also have this fact sheet available in Spanish. Haga clic aquí para descargar en Español.


Like facts? (We do.) Want to arm yourself with more information? We recommend reading the two reports below to help you make your case:


Plastic Straws


Plastic Bags