Expanded polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam, is the insulating material in food boxes and many other products. This plastic can be recycled, but it’s not always easy.
It requires a special recycling process that involves thermal densification and extraction. This method is cheaper and more efficient than traditional methods.
Recycling EPS saves energy
EPS is made from oil, but when recycled it is a renewable resource. It also uses less energy to manufacture than making new EPS from oil.
In 2016, 118 million pounds of EPS were recycled in the United States. Those recycling numbers are expected to keep increasing. This is because it saves resources and money. It also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and saves landfill space.
The easiest way to recycle EPS is to drop it off at a recycling center. Check online listings to find a center near you. Alternatively, you can contact insulation manufacturers like ICA for pick-up service.
EPS is extremely lightweight, so large amounts can be expensive for recyclers to transport. To make storing and shipping easier, it is recommended to invest in an EPS densifier. This machine will compress the EPS into a compact form, which can save on space, transport and landfill fees. Choosing the right model will depend on how much EPS you have and your desired flow rate.
Recycling EPS reduces greenhouse gas emissions
As a result of its lightweight nature, EPS can be recycled in a number of different ways. This includes making new products, such as hardwood composite decking or garden furniture. In addition to this, EPS can also be used for insulation in new buildings. Recycling EPS reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing process and prevents waste from ending up in landfills or burning in backyard fires, which can release toxic chemicals into the soil and water.
Although many people believe that styrofoam is not recyclable, it is actually quite the opposite. EPS is 98% air, so it’s extremely lightweight and takes up very little space in landfills or in the environment. However, it isn’t biodegradable, which is why it should be recycled instead of discarded in the trash or burned for energy recovery.
While you may not be able to recycle EPS in your curbside bin, you can drop it off at local recycling centers. Before you bring it to the center, make sure that it is clean and free of food or paper debris.
Recycling EPS reduces landfill space
EPS is lightweight, but takes up a lot of space in landfills. It also doesn’t biodegrade. This makes it hard to recycle, but some centers can process it.
Recycling EPS helps reduce the amount of garbage in landfills. It also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions from transporting the material to and from recycling facilities.
Another benefit of EPS recycling is that it conserves natural resources. The manufacturing of EPS consumes nonrenewable petroleum resources, and dumping the waste in landfills uses up valuable land. In addition, the material decomposes very slowly in landfills, which is a major conservation issue.
EPS can be recycled into new products such as furniture, building insulation and food trays. However, it is important to ensure that the EPS is free of contamination before bringing it to be recycled. This includes tape, labels and plastic film, as these materials can ruin the process of melting it down. The EPS Industry Alliance maintains a list of recycling companies and drop-off sites that accept foam packaging.
Recycling EPS reduces pollution
Despite its reputation for polluting the environment, recycling EPS can actually help to reduce pollution. This is because it means that less new expanded polystyrene recycling has to be produced. Like all plastics, EPS is made from petroleum, and production can be harmful to the environment. Recycling EPS means that less crude oil is used, which can reduce the amount of pollution generated during its manufacture.
In order to recycle EPS, it must be separated from other materials and transported to a plant where it will be ground up, melted, pulled into strands, and densified. It can then be reshaped into new products, such as picture frames or clothes hangers.
It is important to work with a company that can handle large volumes of EPS waste. Unlike most other types of recyclable plastic, EPS cannot be recycled through kerbside collections, and needs to be taken to a facility with the right equipment. For this reason, it is best to find a company that can collect EPS from businesses or individuals.