Expanded polystyrene is everywhere around us. It takes place in your food, the articles secure in packages, it ensures the insulation of the houses and it is even in your bike helmet. It is also known as the # 6 plastic you have seen used in plastic cups and CD and DVD cases.
Anecdote : In 2006, the Foam Packaging Recycling Alliance reported that 56 million pounds of BPA were recycled that year. This is an amazing amount considering that BPA is 98% air.
Even if your community recycles plastic # 6, it can not accept EPS (Expanded Polystyrene). This is a case similar to the riddle of the plastic bag, where different versions of plastics require by some separate recycling streams. Because it is so lightweight, expanded polystyrene takes up 0.01% of the total municipal solid waste stream by weight, but as you might have guessed, its volume is a bigger problem than its weight. It takes up space in landfills and does not deteriorate. If you have not recycled Styrofoam before, here’s how to do it:
Methods for recycling expanded polystyrene
As we mentioned earlier, the most convenient method for consumers is to use curbside recycling programs, but because of transportation coordination and contamination rates, most communities do not accept polystyrene . But do not despair, you have a number of options at your fingertips:
Site Removal – Check Earth911.com to check where you can find polystyrene recycling in your area. Be sure to call ahead to make sure that the site you are looking for does accept this material. If they take expanded polystyrene , most accept packaging materials, but not food or medical containers. Bring empty empty containers of ribbon, labels, plastic films, etc. As you know, contaminants can ruin the recycling process.
Return by mail – If a landing site does not exist in your area, you can also use a mail-back program, such as the Foam Packaging Recycling Alliance. Remember to remove all debris from the EPS before breaking it into small pieces that fit in a box for shipping.
Reuse for Loose Insulation – Reusing expanded polystyrene is the best thing you can do. Moreover, it is very easy to use. For example, you could use it to better isolate your home or to build a dock.
Large Volume – Working with a pick-up service recycling company is best if your company receives large amounts of EPS. The company’s needs for storage and equipment vary, but it is typical for storage containers to stay outdoors in a bin where the expanded polystyrene is clean, dry and not exposed to the elements. It is wise to check with the company to see how they accept polystyrene, whether stacked, packaged, bailed out, condensed, etc.
On site (for industry) – In the event your company needs to regularly condense large pieces of expanded polystyrene, look in the peripherals of companies such as RecycleTech or Styromelt ™. For example, Styromelt ™ is a device that uses thermal compaction not only to reduce the volume of EPS, but also to sterilize the briquette.
So we showed you 4 solutions to be able to recycle or reuse your expanded polystyrene. Remember that you should never give up this type of material in the wild as it could have a very harmful effect on the environment.