Styrofoam® and EPS

Styrofoam® is a Dow Chemical Company trademarked product and the name refers to a closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam only. Styrofoam® is a misnomer when used to describe the material in foam cups, food trays and packing peanuts. These items are expanded polystyrene or “EPS”

EPS in the landfill

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that of the 3 million tons of EPS produced in the US, 75% (or 2.3 million tons) end up in the landfill* where it takes up as much as 30% of landfill volume.


EPS is a valuable material that sanitarily insulates and protects. Because of its widespread use it is the most cost effective way to serve meals to students. We don't need to stop using this valuable material rather we need to reuse and repurpose. At StyroPower we keep EPS out of the landfill.

  • Polystyrene foam is primarily produced by emulsion polymerization of styrene in the presence of pentane, such that the pentane is encapsulated within a polystyrene ball.
  • When heated the pentane vaporizes and expands or foams the polystyrene.
  • Foamed polystyrene is used as insulation and packaging materials as well as food containers such as beverage cups, egg cartons, and disposable plates and trays.
  • The plastic recycling code number of polystyrene is #6. Recycled polystyrene products are commonly melted down and reused in foamed insulation.

* Municipal solid waste in the United States: 2001 facts and figures; EPA 530-R-03-011; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington DC, 2003.