Restaurants and cafes in Washington, D.C. can only offer biodegradable takeout containers and drinking cups from now on — making it law for businesses to make sustainable decisions on this front.

The fact that Styrofoam — which is actually polystyrene foam — is horrible for the environment is not news but the fact that folks are finally taking action against it certainly is. While this cost-effective, convenient material has been an easy option for businesses for years — the reality of what happens to the disintegrated bits of the polystyrene foam after it’s been used has started to haunt the planet. It’s extremely difficult for folks to clean up and when broken down can find its way into the ingestion of wildlife and fishes — it really is awful for the environment.

“The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) found that Americans chuck 25 billion (yes, billion) Styrofoam cups per year. That’s not even counting the to-go containers in which your half-eaten burrito gets inserted so you can take it home,” reports TakePart, “Because just 9 percent of plastic waste is recycled, 500 years from now every Styrofoam cup handed out at a doughnut shop this morning will be sitting in a landfill.”

But Washington has put the ban on plastic foam containers for food and drink — joining several cities in the US such as New York, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and more. In Canada, Turner Valley in Alberta was the first city in both the province and country to ban polystyrene.

Back in 2007, Toronto started a ban on Styrofoam packaging — launching this transition away from harmful products with an additional charge in stores and restaurants that used plastic or foam products.

According to Business Barbados, plastic fills between 20 and 30 percent of the world’s landfills.

Though polystyrene may feel disposable it’s dire life lives on and is causing serious harm just so folks in the foodservice can make a quick, low-cost buck. Going green in the foodservice industry makes your business a responsible one and even if there’s no ban in the city in which your restaurant or café operates yet — opting for biodegradable takeout containers is a sustainable trend worth following.


For businesses getting energy-efficient, we have incentives.


Image credit: coastal creature