SHELBYVILLE – Styrofoam is a trademark named for a chemical compound called polystyrene. According to the National Park Service and Office of Conservation, if it is placed in a landfill, it will take thousands of years to deteriorate and return to the earth. If it is burned, it releases toxic chemicals.
HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital’s philosophy is to be kind and gentle to the earth which is in line with its Franciscan values. For these reasons, the hospital has decided to move to a more ecological means for carry-out food containers. The new line of products of plates and to-go boxes are made of a biodegradable sugarcane.
Important things to mention about sugarcane supplies:

  • These containers are designed for hot or cold food. 

  • Unlike Styrofoam, they can be microwaved! Microwaving Styrofoam actually adds toxins to the food.

  • These containers won't burn one’s hand when carrying, but because they are made of organic material, one will feel the warmth, unlike Styrofoam.

  • These containers do not leak. Users may notice that they "sweat" when filled with hot food. This is easily absorbed by using a paper towel under the container.

  • They will become compost completely on their own in a landfill, adding no harm to the environment. In fact, these containers will eventually feed the earth.

The products chosen for the hot cups and to-go bowls are also made of a biodegradable and compostable paper material. Even the eco-friendly bowl lids are made of an eco-friendly plastic which will compost when thrown away.
This move to a greener material will effectively reduce pollution and promote a more sustainable planet.
Cristin Foster, manager of materials management, worked for weeks to doing price comparisons and research on this new line of earth-friendly cartons. She found a company which produces the containers for about the same cost as the Styrofoam companies which helped confirm the decision to move forward with the change. She said, “I am passionate about ecology and our environment. I have great respect for our mother earth and want to do my part to reduce waste and landfills. I am very happy to work in a Franciscan culture like HSHS Good Shepherd that shares my respect for our environment.”
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, visit   
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay).  HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis,

Media Contact

Andrew Dilbeck

HSHS Illinois
Office: 217-464-5610

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