Why Your Restaurant Should Switch to Eco-Friendly Takeaway Food Containers

Posted on November 1, 2019 by Ash Bennett

More and more restaurant owners decide to go green to help our planet. Takeaway food containers are usually made of Styrofoam, a material that has a negative effect on health and the environment. As awareness about our planet’s problems is growing, many restaurants decide to use more eco-friendly materials to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

Dangers of Styrofoam

Styrofoam is used widely in industry due to its lightness and insular properties. It is employed in the food sector, construction, and to protect fragile objects during shipping. However, the toll it takes on people’s health and the environment outweighs the benefits.

Styrofoam was invented in 1941 for the Dow Building Solutions. It is manufactured from polystyrene, a petroleum-based plastic, and its production involves the release of huge quantities of toxic substances. Worse still, Styrofoam hardly ever biodegrades. Cleveland State University estimates that it takes more than a million years to decompose. In California, only 1% of Styrofoam is recycled.

Styrofoam tends to break into small pieces which can be eaten by animals. This results in blockage of their stomachs, which leads to starvation. Styrofoam can get washed to the sea and accumulate there. Due to its porous nature, it easily absorbs carcinogenic substances such as DDT. This phenomenon is harmful not only to sea animals, but because toxic substances tend to accumulate in the food chain, they may end up in people’s stomachs as well.

Styrofoam carries many health risks. According to the National Toxicological Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, styrene, one of Styrofoam’s components, was linked to occurrences of leukemia and lymphoma. Toxic chemicals from Styrofoam can leak into food and beverages in small quantities, especially if food is reheated in a Styrofoam container.


Not all plastics are bad. There are many biodegradable and recyclable plastic takeaway food containers that may be a viable alternative for Styrofoam. Carbon dioxide used in manufacturing these plastics is a more eco-friendly option than petrochemicals used for producing Styrofoam. Surprisingly, some plastic containers can take up less energy to produce than paper ones.

Plant-based food containers are usually fully biodegradable and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the production of plant-based food containers is already saving 300 million gallons of petroleum a year (an equivalent of removing 200,000 cars from the road).

Many restaurants offer discounts to customers who bring their own reusable food containers. This is the most eco-friendly option.

Switching to eco-friendly takeaway food containers can make a difference for the future of our planet. In addition, showing to your customers that your brand takes environmental concerns seriously can go a long way towards improving your restaurant’s image. Are you ready to make the switch?

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