Biodegradable cups 1200

EPS Foam from cups and to go containers is one of the biggest sources of litter pollution in our streams and rivers, switching to biodegradable products


754,969 Plastic Cups and Plates Recovered in 2020

In 2020 as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers recovered over 754,969 plastic cups and plates the majority of which were made from EPS foam. (Ocean Conservancy, 2021)

Plastic Foam Does Not Biodegrade

When pieces of plastic foam (such as polystyrene) enter our waterways, wind and waves break them into smaller and smaller pieces until they are almost invisible to the naked eye. These microplastics (any plastic piece less than 5mm in size) can be ingested by a variety of marine life including invertebrates (e.g., oysters, mussels) and fish that feed on plankton and other microparticulates. The plastic can cause direct and indirect damage to these organisms leading to losses in important species in the ecosystem. Also, the chemicals from which the plastics are derived can have negative impacts on marine organisms, causing toxicity and disruption to reproduction, which has significant implications for the entire food web (AccessScience, 2014).

Polystyrene Found in Marine Animal Intestines

Polystyrene foam is often found lodged in the intestines of marine animals causing blockages from eating the wrong thing. This often leads to death. (BBC, 2015)

EPS foam fragments recovered from Dauphin Island. Picture by Caitlin Wessel


Switch to Biodegradable Cups

Compostable and biodegradable cups for hot and cold drinks are very durable and don't pose the risk of polluting our waters for centuries to come like foam or plastic comes.

Compostable Cup 16 oz. from Green Paper Product

Use Biodegradable Clamshell Containers

Biodegradable clamshell containers made from natural plant fiber are 100% compostable and are very durable. They don't cause the long term harm to our waters like plastic and foam containers.

8in Biodegradable Clamshell from Green Paper Products

Use Biodegradable Straws

Plastic Straws are the 5th most common item to be picked up in litter cleanups throughout the country. Using biodegradable straws ensures the straws from your restaurant aren't long term pollutants to our waters.

Switch to Reusable Dishware

Using reusable dishware saves businesses money overtime, they use far less energy, and the chances of them polluting our waters is much lower than disposable counterparts.


Green Paper Products

Green Paper Products sells 100% biodegradable & compostable products

ECO Products

ECO Products has eco-friendly cups, containers, straws, and utensils

Disposable Cups, Cutlery and Dishware

Disposable Cups, Cutlery and Dishware from Sustainability at Work section of City of Portland, Oregon website has a great guide for restaurants thinking about making the switch

Related Actions

Properly Clean Parking Lots

Parking lots are impermeable surfaces that need to be cleaned regularly to decrease the stormwater runoff that carries litter, debris, sediment, and chemicals into storm drains.

Reduce Food Packaging

Switching from EPS Foam containers and plastic utensils to reusable trays, cups, plates, and utensils can make a big difference.

Types of Pollution

When water rushes off hardened surfaces, erosion of sediments degrade water conditions and smother and disrupt seagrass growth and the habitat for benthic organisms they provide.

Compounds like oil, grease, and heavy metals take a long time to break down and threaten the health of both aquatic and human life.

Litter is not only unsightly, but it also causes a variety of problems to the ecosystem as it enters our waters where it is often is mistaken for food by fish and invertebrates.

Too much fertilizer, pet waste, and other nutrients in our water often lead to serious problems like lowering dissolved oxygen levels, preventing seagrass growth, and killing fish.

Disease-causing microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and other single-celled organisms, are referred to as pathogens, some, like Salmonella, cause human health problems.

While pesticides are designed to be toxic to certain organisms, they can often be harmful and kill other species in the marine system that are important for the entire ecosystem.