Polystyrene is a widely used thermoplastic material in various industries. No matter if it belongs to use as cups, plates, boxes, or used for insulation, the question “can polystyrene be recycled” will remain the same in every case.
Every person uses study made from Polystyrene in daily life. It has wide use in various industries and also in homes. It is also used for insulation and packaging stuff for product safety. In this article, we will tell you what is Polystyrene, uses of Polystyrene, how it is made, and whether can polystyrene be recycled or not.
So, let’s start with a basic introduction to Polystyrene.
Table of Contents
What is Polystyrene?
Polystyrene is a thermoplastic that is made of Aromatic Hydrocarbon Styrene monomers. It can be foamed or solid. It is considered one of the lightweight plastic types which are inexpensive and has a lot of benefits.
It is important to note that a lot of industries are using Polystyrene for various purposes but it could be very harmful to nature. It is biodegradable and takes Centuries to decompose. Now, you might be thinking about what to do with polystyrene packaging. Well, you should simply put it in the waste bin after use.
Can polystyrene be recycled?
The answer is Yes! It is used in forming various items to store food or protect products. Yogurt containers, glass, CD cases, and many other items are made of Polystyrene. This type of plastic can be recycled but it is not so easy and common.
There are two methods of recycling Polystyrene. One method is knowns as Chemical Recycling and the other method is known as Mechanical Recycling.
Both methods will give the same outcome. In Chemical recycling, the used Polystyrene or products are broken down into small pieces and the pieces then break down into their chemical components to make new products with it.
The second method is mechanical recycling. In this type of recycling of Polystyrene, the used products are broken down into small pieces and then melt down to make new products with it.
Looks quite easy? Well, it is not as easy as it looks. There are many challenges that come during the recycling procedure:
- The fragile and lightweight property of Polystyrene makes it difficult to transport.
- Its low density makes it less-cost effect to recycling.
- The lack of recycling facilities and infrastructure makes it more challenging to recycle.
These challenges make it challenging to recycle. That’s why polystyrene recycling is a rare event of recycling.
Uses of Polystyrene:
Polystyrene is widely used in various industries. The food industry plays an important role in the manufacturing of Polystyrene. Free radical Initiators help in the free radical polymerization of Styrene to make Polystyrene.
Then, it can e used in various forms. Mostly, it is used for food packaging and products and appliances packaging. Yogurt containers, cases, license plate frames, disposable plastic products (cups, boxes, plates, etc), CD cases, etc are made of Polystyrene.
You may also want to know about the Bottled and Jared Packaged Goods.
It is also used in the housing industry. Polystyrene is used for a building’s insulation.
Here are some general questions that are mostly asked regarding the use of Polystyrene in homes:
How many times can polystyrene be recycled?
Well, there is not any exact answer to this. It depends on the properties of the Polystyrene which you need to recycle. High impact Polystyrene’s properties will remain intact even up to nine recycles!
Can expanded polystyrene be recycled?
Expanded Polystyrene contains 89% air and only 2% of plastic which makes it very difficult to recycle but the short answer to this question is yes. After breaking down into small pieces, it can be recycled by chemical recycling or mechanical recycling but it is very very low-cost effective. That’s why it becomes difficult to recycle it.
Polystyrene is a widely used type of plastic it is biodegradable and takes hundreds of years to decompose but it can be recycled using chemical, mechanical, or thermal recycling processes. It can be recycled many times depending on the properties of the Polystyrene type. If you have any products like yogurt containers or cases made of Polystyrene then it is good to put them in a waste bin to save nature.
Last Updated on June 10, 2023