Can You Recycle Polystyrene Takeaway Boxes?

Takeaway Food Packaging 1

Scotland is banning plastic straws and polystyrene takeaway containers. It’s another heavy blow to the plastic packaging industry since over 50% of the Scottish population are ordering more takeaway food than pre-pandemic. 

With the return of the hospitality industry and late-night takeaways, including kebabs, burgers, and cheesy chips, businesses need to find eco-friendly packaging alternatives and fast.

What Is Polystyrene Packaging?

Polystyrene — also known as Styrofoam — is created using styrene and pentane. Styrene naturally occurs in plants, but pentane is derived from fossil fuels. When these two chemicals are combined, they form a plastic that’s often moulded into packaging chips and food containers. Generally speaking, it’s non-toxic, but it absorbs moisture since it’s porous. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria and other nasties within the packaging itself, meaning that you shouldn’t reheat last night’s takeaway in its original container.

Can You Recycle Polystyrene Food Containers?

The short answer is no. Polystyrene isn’t commonly recycled, and the best place for polystyrene takeaway boxes or containers is general waste. While some specialist facilities can recycle the material — if unspoiled by the food it contains — these are few and far between. To make matters worse, it takes a long time to degrade, even under optimised conditions. It’ll clog up landfill sites long after serving its purpose, creating further environmental issues.

Related reading: Is Silicone an Eco-Friendly Material?

What Are Polystyrene Packaging Alternatives?

Whether you’re packaging hot or cold food, there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to polystyrene. Not only do they have some incredible ecological qualities, but they also perform a lot better than your average polystyrene takeaway container. 

Here are four of our favourites:

Bagasse Clamshell Containers1. Bagasse Clamshell Containers

These eco-friendly food containers are the closest thing to the classic polystyrene boxes we’re so used to seeing — with a twist. They’re 100% plastic-free. That means that they’ll decompose naturally within just a few months. For reference, that’s about two or three thousand times faster than regular plastic-based packaging. 

The material itself is created using solely natural, renewable sources. Our bagasse is crafted from the by-product of harvesting sugarcane, so it’s totally biodegradable. Available in various sizes, including bagasse boxes with compartments to make serving meals even easier.

Kraft Food Containers2. Kraft Food Containers

Made from premium-quality, food-grade Kraft board, Kraft food packaging is resistant to water, grease, and oil. It has a natural, modern aesthetic that goes well with all kinds of cuisine, whether that’s rustic, skin-on chips, or deliciously decadent burgers. Our Kraft food containers are 100% plastic-free and biodegradable, making it easy for your customers to dispose of responsibly.


Bagasse Anti-Leak Containers

3. Bagasse Anti-Leak Containers

These biodegradable containers are best for food delivery services. They mitigate the chances of spills and leaks with snap-on lids that won’t let you down. They’ll keep your hot or cold dishes fresh and delicious until they reach your customers, giving them a better experience without any of the takeaway guilt.

Kraft Pizza Boxes and Meal Boxes4. Kraft Pizza Boxes and Meal Boxes

This packaging is perfect for delivery and over-the-counter food service. Very few food packaging suppliers stock food-grade pizza boxes and meal boxes, but ours include Kraft paper on the inside, giving them the ultimate grease, moisture, and oil resistance. This also helps increase recycling rates, making for a more eco-friendly experience all-round. The luxury meal boxes and pizza boxes also feature steam holes to prevent food from going soggy.

Buying Polystyrene Food Packaging Alternatives

With more legislation expected to come into effect across the UK in the near future — and with so many polystyrene food packaging alternatives available — it’s time to change the way you serve your food and drinks.

Visit our online shop and discover a great range of eco-friendly food packaging. After a branded solution? Get in touch with us today for a free design quote.