The Environmental Impact Of Styrofoam Cups

Styrofoam cups and takeaway containers were wildly popular for many years because of their cost-effectiveness and convenience. But now they are banned in many countries, including Australia, because of health concerns related to this material as well as the environmental impact. Most businesses, restaurants, and coffee shops have replaced styrofoam cups with biodegradable coffee cups, but many establishments still use styrofoam.

In this article, we’ll look at the true impact of styrofoam cups on the environment, and you’ll understand the styrofoam ban a little better.

Single-Use Plastic

Styrofoam cups are a single-use item that is not biodegradable. Billions of cups are thrown away every year, filling up landfills, and play a huge role in land and water pollution.

Styrofoam, or polystyrene, does not break down, but it does break up into tiny pieces that stay around for hundreds of years, leaching out harmful chemicals.

Water Pollution

Because styrofoam cups are so lightweight, they are often blown by the wind and they escape proper rubbish collection. This way, pieces of styrofoam are ubiquitous and appear in our oceans, parks and forests.

Harm To Animal Life

One of the biggest concerns regarding styrofoam is that it’s harmful to animals. Animals eat styrofoam, thinking it is food, which can cause chemical build up in the animal and even lead to death in some cases.


Styrofoam is made from two known carcinogens, namely benzene and styrene. Long-term exposure to styrofoam, especially those working with styrofoam and its manufacture, can develop cancers and other complex health issues.

Food Contamination

Even just using a styrofoam cup can be potentially dangerous as there could be food contamination, especially if you are drinking a hot drink.

The Alternatives

The good news is that if you are a business that is still using styrofoam cups, there are many great alternatives for you! There are various types of biodegradable coffee cups that still constitute as single-use items. Thus, they are still good for takeaway coffees and will break down within a few weeks once thrown away. They may not be as cheap as styrofoam, but they are still very affordable. Your business may even develop a positive reputation for caring for the environment and welcome new customers who appreciate this effort. 

Are you looking to purchase biodegradable coffee cups in Australia? You can find them and a range of other earth-friendly products at Affordable Eco Solutions. Feel free to browse our website to find out more.

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