Campaigners call for new ban on polystyrene to prevent environmental damage and diseases


Campaigners call for new ban on polystyrene to prevent environmental damage and diseases linked to ‘toxic’ chemicals used in its production

  • Campaigners are calling for polystyrene to be banned to prevent diseases  
  • It is not commonly recycled due to the cost and complex process required
  • Polystyrene is slow to biodegrade and has been linked to some cancers 










Polystyrene should be banned to prevent environmental damage and diseases linked to the toxic chemicals used in its production, campaigners say.

The smooth, brittle material – found in everything from takeaway containers to TV packaging – is one of the most common plastics in the UK. 

But it is not commonly recycled due to the cost and complex process required, as well as the difficulty of collecting waste polystyrene.

Polystyrene should be banned to prevent environmental damage and diseases linked to the toxic chemicals used in its production, campaigners say

Polystyrene should be banned to prevent environmental damage and diseases linked to the toxic chemicals used in its production, campaigners say

Around 1.15 billion polystyrene food and drink containers were sold in England in 2018, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Like most plastics, polystyrene is slow to biodegrade and has been linked to diseases, including some cancers. 

It is produced by blasting plastic pellets with steam until they expand and become small white balls, which are bound together.

Steve Hynd, of campaign group City to Sea, said: ‘Expanded polystyrene could be easily replaced with less damaging plastic-free and ideally reusable packaging.’

Nina Schrank, senior plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: ‘The hazards to human health posed by polystyrene are deeply concerning.’

The sale of all single-use polystyrene food containers will be banned in Scotland from next June.

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Written by bourbiza

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