Apart from being an environmental pollutant, the containers don’t biodegrade easily.
TIS technical advisor Kelvin Passfield said the organization had held talks with the government on banning their use.
While the process was slow, TIS was optimistic of a positive outcome.
“They (the government) are working on getting all the information together. They would like us to give them more information to help analyse the situation,” he said.
Major cities around the world have banned the use of EPS because of the harm it does to the environment.
New York City recently joined the growing number of cities around the globe to ban the products which include cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers and trays.
Passfield said alternatives were available that could reduce the use of polystyrene in the Cook Islands.
TIS has embarked on a project to promote traditional food baskets at the takeaway centres.
“We are starting a project to reduce the use of polystyrene food packaging in takeaway food industry, particularly in the markets.
“We would like to promote an increased use of raurau baskets made from kikau.”
Passfield said a TIS post on Facebook about the issue had generated interest among locals.
Some had even offered assistance in teaching and learning the skills required to make raurau baskets or plates.
“I have contacted Violet Tisam from the Cook Islands Trades Training Institute and she is willing to run a short course on weaving those raurau plates for seven to 10 people,” Passfield said.
“Most of the locals know how it is done and this opportunity is for those who want to learn and contribute towards reducing the use of polystyrene.”
TIS is also working on collaboration with the Enabled Women’s Collective, the Vaine Angaanga Toa, based at the Creative Centre in Tupapa.
“They have a stall at the Punanga Nui Market every Saturdays and we are hoping to have the raurau baskets available in time for promotion this Saturday.”
Passfield said people could also use biodegradable alternatives to the polystyrene foam clamshell containers.
“A number of outlets are now selling biodegradable food containers made from sugar cane or bamboo fibre that can be used by food outlets.
“But these biodegradable containers cost more so we are trying to find out if there is any outlet out there selling them at a cheaper rate.”
Passfield said Punanga Nui and Muri night markets were a major concern and TIS wanted to eliminate the use of polystyrene containers at these places.
“We need to support these initiatives, which will reduce the amount of foam food containers getting burnt, releasing harmful gases, or else just filling up our landfill.”