PS foam foodservice products make up 1.5% of litter, report says; information compiled from 19 surveys of 240 sites in North America conducted between 1994-2008 found PS consistently constitutes small portion of litter

WASHINGTON , May 31, 2012 (press release) – Commonly used polystyrene foam food service products (typically referred to as STYROFOAM™) make up 1.5 percent of litter, according to a new report that surveys recent studies on litter. The May 2012 report by environmental consulting firm Environmental Resources Planning of Gaithersburg, MD, "examined a variety of litter surveys to determine the extent to which polystyrene foam food service products contribute to litter."

ER Planning compiled information from nineteen litter surveys conducted in the U.S. and Canada from 1994 to 2009, including a 2008 national survey of 240 sites. The firm reviewed surveys that used statistically valid quantification and characterization methodologies. The report finds that polystyrene foam food service products "consistently constitute a small portion of litter (1.5 percent). Evaluating just the surveys conducted since 2000 yields an even lower median value of 1.1 percent."


Survey

Year

Percent

San Jose

2009

2.3%

Alberta

2009

0.7%

San Jose

2008

0.8%

National

2008

1.7%

San Francisco

2008

1.1%

San Francisco

2007

1.7%

Alberta

2007

1.1%

Toronto

2006

1.1%

Toronto

2004

1.0%

Region of Peel

2003

0.5%

Region of Durham

2003

0.6%

Region of York

2003

0.3%

Toronto

2002

1.5%

Florida

2002

2.3%

Florida

2001

2.2%

Florida

1997

3.1%

Florida

1996

3.6%

Florida

1995

3.3%

Florida

1994

3.9%

Median Value

 

1.5%



The complete report ("The Contribution of Polystyrene Foam Food Service Products to Litter") is available on ER Planning's web site. The report's project manager Steven R. Stein is a subject matter expert on litter, recycling and environmental issues. His work studying litter and its impacts on our communities has been featured in The New York Times and National Geographic, as well as on NPR and Good Morning America. Field crews under his direction have physically surveyed litter along more than 15.5 million square feet of roadways and recreational areas.

He led the 2009 KAB National Litter Survey, the most comprehensive study of its kind and sponsored the 2011 National Litter Forum, which focused on restoring our nation's communities. Mr. Stein has taught Environmental Science and Ethics in Management at the university level. He was invited as a subject matter expert on environmental issues and community dynamics to participate in a study commissioned by the President and in a Sustainable Consumption Roundtable convened by the Johnson Foundation. The report was underwritten by the American Chemistry Council's Plastics Foodservice Packaging Group.

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