Economic Impact

The foam industry provides thousands of jobs and saves schools, businesses, consumers, and government agencies millions of dollars every year. Polystyrene foam benefits people all over the Mid-Atlantic region by offering superior value, increased efficiency, and strong economic solutions.

Foam has an understated value in America. It lowers costs on local businesses, leading to more jobs, which fuel economies from Washington, DC to Delaware, from West Virginia to Pennsylvania. Recycled polystyrene is extremely valuable because of its versatility. Once it’s recycled into pellets, manufacturers nationwide can use polystyrene for insulation.

Foam recycling programs have saved some schools between 20-40% on material collection fees. [ii]

School districts from New Jersey to Virginia also rely on foam to keep costs down because a foam tray costs significantly less than popular alternatives.[i] By investing in education instead of cafeteria trays, the region’s schools can better serve their teachers, students, and communities.

Foam products help restaurants stay in business. From crab cakes in Maryland to New Jersey pizza, each Mid-Atlantic state offers a unique dining experience for locals and tourists alike. Many restaurants operate on razor-thin profits. Foam products help these small businesses succeed by providing an affordable and effective food storage solution for their patrons.

Foam is far more economical than alternative materials, as food-grade polystyrene containers are generally two to three times less expensive than the other options. Foam containers provide excellent insulation at a cost-effective price and allow hardworking Mid-Atlantic business owners – already facing higher prices for food, fuel, and everyday products – to save money in a challenging economic climate.

[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).