POLYSTYRENE FOAM/ STYROFOAM & RECYCLING
DID YOU KNOW?
Polystyrene is a type of plastic which is not ommonly recycled. Check with your local council to see if they are able to offer a recycling service for polystyrene.
In order to make polystyrene cups etc. one needs to use virgin polystyrene beads.
There are TWO MAIN TYPES OF POLYSTYRENE in use today –
rigid polystyrene, and expanded polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam or polystyrene foam).
EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE (EPS) OR POLYSTYRENE FOAM –
the white “bubbly” plastic frames often used in packaging for furniture or electronic goods – is actually up to 98% air, and as little as 2% plastic. As a result, it is quite difficult to transport and recycle efficiently and economically.
The finished product is a lightweight, inexpensive material that is about 95% to 98% air. The insulating properties and cheap manufacturing costs of EPS have made it a popular choice for businesses.
· Polystyrene foam gets lodged in the intestines of marine animals and that causes blockages that can be lethal. (Think about how we worry about a mild blockage from eating the wrong thing; imagine eating a ball of Styrofoam.)
· Polystyrene foams essentially act like little pollutant sponges, picking up and concentrating some of the nastiest contaminants in the ocean, then something like a sea turtle comes along and eats this thinking it is a jellyfish.
· Some of these plastic-feeding fish may be ending up back on our tables.
THERMAL RECYCLING (an option)
In this process, the recycled EPS is burned in municipal incinerators, leaving behind carbon dioxide and water vapours. This makes it a good fuel for waste-to-energy programs that use heat. While thermal recycling could be an effective re-use of polystyrene waste, its cost of transporting loads of light, bulky polystyrene to recycling centres could be very costly.
SO HOW TO DISPOSE OF USED POLYSTYRENE?
Polystyrene containers such as yoghurt tubs etc. can and should be recycled.
However polystyrene foam is very rarely accepted for recycling. There are a few companies that specialise in recycling expanded polystyrene, you could contact your local municipality or look it up on the internet.
Otherwise, these items have been placed in the general waste bin, which then gets dumped into the already full landfills and if this is not possible then it ends up in the ocean.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO USING POLYSTYRENE FOAM?
A more recyclable compound such aspolypropylene is an alternative.
Polypropylene is a resin-based substance that is often used for plastic takeaway containers. While polypropylene is more easily recycled than polystyrene, it is also more expensive.
Polystyrene foam has to replace with a more viable alternative OR a more economical and viable solution should be found to have them recycled and be enforced as a rule worldwide.
"INDUSTRIAL HEMP is the perfect SOLUTION"
Why New York banned polystyrene foam