Recyclable Or Not – Styrofoam

Styrofoam, formally polystyrene foam (styrofoam is a brand name), is really recyclable. It has a wide variety of uses–from school supplies, storage, to making a sensible modeling base. For it to be used (or re-used), you would have to have access to the right materials. You can find a recommendation for the best cutter for Styrofoam at

Although Styrofoam has many uses and is recyclable, most municipal programs won’t accept it. An even better question will be, can I recycle my styrofoam?

Facts About Polystyrene

Polystyrene is a #6 plastic material. It’s often used to create foam cups as well as food canisters, clamshell containers, cd jewel cases, packaging peanuts and maybe even in some explosives. Of all plastics, an argument may be made that polystyrene will be the least eco-friendly.

Polystyrene is produced from petroleum which isn’t a renewable resource.

Polystyrene’s main components are styrene and benzene. Both are recognized carcinogens. Extended contact with styrene by employees in plastics manufacturing has resulted in problems with the main nervous system and intestinal tract.

Based on the EPA the manufacture of polystyrene is the 5th largest creator of dangerous waste in the U.S. The procedure releases hydrocarbons into the atmosphere which, when coupled with nitrogen oxide and sunshine, creates tropospheric ozone.

When warmed, as in a microwave, it releases similar contaminants into the foods it has, and that will be consumed and also assimilated into the entire body.

Polystyrene is extremely flammable.

Polystyrene takes a huge number of decades to degrade.
When burned adequately within an industrial process, it makes carbon soot, water, and carbon dioxide, together with a blend of other’ volatile compounds’. But when burned at lower temperatures, like in a burn pile or even in a home fireplace, it produces a multitude of toxins such as aromatic hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.

Provided all of the downsides to this particular material, why could it be very common? The benefit to polystyrene is it is inexpensive, lightweight, and durable to create. It’s also an extremely effective insulator. The word ‘styrofoam’ is really a trademark on the Dow Chemical Corporation which is true for housing insulation.

Can Polystyrene foam be reused?

Indeed, but there’s a lot of debate regarding whether recycling is not really more damaging to the earth than landfilling this particular substance.

Recycling polystyrene isn’t a closed loop process, the meaning is we do not recycle styrofoam into some other styrofoam products. Rather it’s recycled into various other plastics, the majority of which aren’t themselves recyclable. In the process, much more resources are expended and much more pollutants released.

Moreover, most recyclers do not wish to handle polystyrene. It is light & takes up a lot of room. The marketplaces for reused polystyrene were unstable and processors often cannot get a very good market price for the content.

In case you do want to recycle polystyrene, your best choice will possibly be finding a company ready to take back their product or service. Dart Container is but one such business.

Rather than market more polystyrene recycling, a much better solution is promoting alternatives to polystyrene within the very first place. One particular choice is bioplastics that are plant-based & biodegradable. Another is replacing a lot of these items with paper options, especially in the meals handling industry. There are in addition other existing plastics that are a lot easier to recycle and generate fewer contaminants within the manufacturing process, for example, PET, LDPE, and HDPE.

Options for Reuse

It is difficult to stay away from purchasing items made from polystyrene foam, though you are able to recycle a lot of them.

Packaging peanuts may be used again and again. Check with craft stores to dispose of foam product packaging. Numerous crafts use foam as a starting. Small particles can be blended in with potting soil to help with water drainage in houseplants.