Polystyrene was discovered by accident in 1839 by Eduard Simon, an apothecary from Berlin, Germany. As one of the most widely used plastics in the world, polystyrene is used for bottles, containers, packaging, disposable cutlery, packing peanuts, and more. It can be solid or foamed (Styrofoam is a brand name of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam).