No country has yet completely outlawed the use of styrofoam in foods although many local governments throughout the world have implemented strict bans. Styrofoam, also called polystyrene, is not biodegradable and takes 500 years to break down, which is harmful to our environment. Plastics fill between 20 and 30 per cent of the worlds landfills, according to Business Barbados.
Many counties and cities in California have implemented bans concerning the commercial use of styrofoam. Oakland California joined 100 other U.S. cities in 2006 by approving a ban on styrofoam food containers for takeout food. In 2007 San Francisco joined the green movement by requiring all food vendors to forgo the use of styrofoam-to-go containers and replace them with biodegradable equivalents. Today most of the state has followed suit.
Seattle began a two-stage process in 2009 to rid the city of all environmentally-damaging plastics. The first stage of this process was a ban placed on all foam containers. In 2010, the city began to charge consumers using plastic grocery bags and soon grocery stores will only be allowed to offer biodegradable or reusable bags.
Muntinlupa is a city in the Philippines. The city enacted a year-long transition from dependence on plastic and styrofoam into the use of biodegradable products. The official ban on foam products began at the end of 2010. This was in response to the degrading conditions in the state of Manila where styrofoam waste was clogging water ways and building up in metropolitan areas.
To demonstrate a concern for the natural conditions of its country, Toronto Canada began a ban on styrofoam packaging products in 2007. It was the first city in Canada to officially begin the ban on plastic products. The process began with extra charges on stores and restaurants using plastic or foam products. Today, retailers face steep fines for breaking the city's ban.
The city of lights proposed its ban on styrofoam in 2007. According to Biocom, a producer of earth-friendly alternatives to plastics, 8,000 tons of waste in the Paris each year can be attributed to non-biodegradable plastics. Burning this waste causes serious health problems. The island city of Corsica in France was the first to ban foams in 1999 and Paris has followed suit.