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Coast of the Lasqueti island, with a cliff and pieces of styrofoam and wood on the rockie beach


Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is more commonly known as Styrofoam™, which is a privately-owned brand (see our disclaimer below!). 


The plastic material starts in the form of sphere-shaped polystyrene beads and is then injected with pentane gas and placed in a mold.


Using steam as the heat source, the beads expand to fit the mold and fuse together, creating a solid structure that is 98% air.


It is used in almost every dock, raft or other flotation material used in British Columbian waters.

When EPS is used for floatation it often breaks down into small beads. These polystyrene beads mix into the water column where they can harm marine species if consumed, or end up on beaches where they are extremely difficult to remove.

Read on to find out why it is a problem specific to British Columbia...


For the purposes of this website, when styrofoam is mentioned, we are referring to expanded and extruded foamed polystyrene products in general. Styrofoam™ is a trademarked product owned by Dow Chemical and we are not specifically referring to that product. Within the public sphere, foamed polystyrene products are known colloquially as styrofoam, and so, for easier communication on this public platform, we use the word styrofoam.

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