Styrene is a building-block chemical used to make many everyday products, and it also occurs naturally in foods like strawberries, cinnamon, coffee and beef.
Heating a styrene monomer generates a reaction that causes the styrene units to attach to each other and form the long chain polymer known as polystyrene.
Polystyrene is a versatile plastic resin typically used in two forms: solid and foam. Foam polystyrene is used to make building and appliance insulation, surfboards, lightweight protective packaging, egg cartons, meat trays, foodservice packaging and more.
Modern polystyrene packaging has long been a preferred material of the foodservice industry because it insulates better, keeps food fresher longer, costs less than alternative coated paperboard products and uses fewer resources. The FDA strictly regulates all food packaging materials and determined polystyrene is safe for use in contact with food.