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The Best Styrofoam Alternatives for Restaurants

4 min read

K Garden


BuyDirect Has Sustainable Alternatives to Styrofoam 

It’s no secret that humans have done some terrible things to this planet. Many of our inventions have made life easier for us, but they have had a negative impact on the world. To undo some of the damage that has been done and to prevent further destruction, many places across the U.S. are putting a Styrofoam ban in place. 

As a restaurant owner, if you offer takeout, you more than likely have Styrofoam containers. You might be wondering what the Styrofoam ban policy means for your business and if there are any Styrofoam alternatives you might consider instead. 

Why Is Styrofoam Banned? 

Styrofoam was invented by the Dow Chemical Co. in 1941. Styrofoam is derived from polystyrene, which is a hard, synthetic plastic that is not biodegradable. Polystyrene is used to make a wide variety of household products, including packaging material, car parts, insulation and others. 

Styrofoam Alternatives for Restaurants

The types of polystyrene Styrofoam restaurant containers are made from include expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS). These varieties are used to make disposable drink cups, takeout containers and single-serve utensils .

The issue with these containers is that they don’t break down when thrown in the trash. They can be recycled, however, aren’t processed in all recycling centers. 

Since these containers are so lightweight, they can blow out of landfills and wreak havoc on a variety ecosystems. Another issue is that when Styrofoam containers are heated, they release toxic chemicals that pollute people’s food. And sunlight can heat these containers up enough to cause them to release toxic chemicals into the air. 

To ensure the health and safety of the planet and its inhabitants, many states have banned the use of Styrofoam and will issue fines to any restaurant or business they find using these containers. 

Containers That Are Good for the Planet

Styrofoam Alternatives for Restaurants

Whether you live in an area that has a Styrofoam ban or you just want to do something kind for the planet and humanity, there are some alternatives to Styrofoam takeout containers you can consider. These include: 


One of the best alternatives to Styrofoam is to use paper or double poly-coated paper products for your takeout items. Paper is eco-friendly and will biodegrade when placed in landfills. It can also be recycled. 

Paper products come in a variety of single use options, and the double poly-coated products are moisture resistant, making them more durable than regular paper options. Adding these items to your business can help you stay in compliance with current Styrofoam bans as well as offer your customers eco-friendly ways to their food home. 


When it comes to sustainable alternatives to Styrofoam, there are a couple of plastic options you might consider: PET and PLA. PET containers are lightweight and flexible, and they can also be recycled. PLA products are compostable, which makes them eco-friendly because they break down in the environment. 

These options are sturdier than paper and can withstand moisture. If people reheat their food in these containers, they won’t have to worry about pollutants contaminating their meals. 

Containers That Are Good for Business and the Planet

Styrofoam containers may have been the standard in the restaurant industry for a long time, but times are changing. If you’re ready to change with them, shop BuyDirect for the eco-friendly containers that are the best for your business.

Looking for more Restaurant Supplies?

Check out these popular categories available on BuyDirect from Mission.

Cups & Lids

Bowls & Plates

Food Trays & Containers

Beverages & Beverage Dispensers

Paper Towels

Food Wraps

Gloves and Glove Dispensers