Economic Impact

The foam industry provides thousands of jobs and saves schools, businesses, consumers, and government agencies millions of dollars every year. Polystyrene foam offers the most value for consumers, increases efficiency, and delivers the best economic solutions.
Foam recycling programs have saved some schools between 20-40% on material collection fees.[ii]
Banning polystyrene would hurt school districts. Many school districts use foam lunch trays because they can realize significant savings. A foam tray costs considerably less than a compostable tray.[i]

Recycled polystyrene material can be used to make things such as garden nursery flats, picture frames, rulers, and architectural molding. Polystyrene manufacturers innovate the way polystyrene is recycled for both food containers and product packaging. manufacturing plant Banning polystyrene would also hurt small businesses – 650 California restaurants along with numerous local Chambers of Commerce signed a coalition letter urging law makers to oppose SB 568, cited as a “job killer.” “These types of manufacturing jobs are a key to a stable and growing economy in California,” said Mike Rogge of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. “Many of these foam plant workers have been on the job for 15-20 years and without a doubt, these jobs will disappear.”[iii]

Restaurant owner Gary Honeycutt said that if legislation passed banning foam, the cost would be thousands of dollars in an industry that already has razor thin profit margins. Gary’s restaurant is located in the heart of California’s farm country. To ban foam would not only affect Gary, but thousands of small businesses similar to Gary’s restaurant.[iv] The PS foam manufacturing industry supports jobs and generates millions in tax revenue for state budgets.

In California, the impact of banning foam would estimate to an overall loss (measuring the direct, indirect, and induced effects) of nearly $1.4 billion in output, $335 million in earnings, almost 8,000 jobs, and would also increase consumer spending on disposable foodservice products by about $376 million per year.[v]
[i] Kelly Puente, Recyclable Foam Trays a Cure for Long Beach Schools’ Headache, PRESS-TELEGRAM, May 19, 2011, available at

[ii] Franklin Associates, Ltd. Final Peer-Reviewed Report: Life Cycle Inventory of Polystyrene Foam, Bleached Paperboard, and Corrugated Paperboard Foodservice Products (Prepared for The Polystyrene Packaging Council, March 2006).

[iii] California Business Coalition Says Senate Bill 568 Will Kill 8,000 Jobs in the Golden State, PRWEB, July 12, 2011,

[iv] Proposed California styrofoam ban highlights two green issues: Ecology and money, Monday, August 29, 2011;

[v] U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Regional Multipliers: A User Handbook for the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II). 1997.