According to the National Bureau of Standards Center for Fire Research, burning landfills containing Styrofoam release 57 dangerous chemical byproducts into the air.
Sunlight creates harmful air pollutants from Styrofoam that are known as tropospheric ozone. The solar heating of the chlorofluorocarbons and hydrocarbons in Styrofoam also cause air pollution, contaminate landfills, and deplete the ozone layer.
Because of the many centuries needed for decomposition of Styrofoam, it is considered non-biodegradable, and its effect on the environment is unsettling. Most municipalities sanction landfills as the only legal dumping site for Styrofoam waste. Every day, approximately 1,369 tons of Styrofoam goes into U.S. landfills daily. By volume, Styrofoam takes up 25 to 30 percent of total landfill area. These figures make Styrofoam one of the most environmentally unfriendly types of waste around.