Is Styrofoam Recyclable? The Many Different Ways to Recycle Styrofoam
Recycling is one of the best ways to help save the environment and is a way in which non-biodegradable items can be reused and reformed instead of directly landing up in our oceans. While plastic is one of the main items that can be recycled, there are many other items that are not s commonly thought of, one of those being styrofoam. Styrofoam is a product that is most commonly used for packaging and one-time use items such as plates, cups, and cutlery and is often not disposed of in the correct way. The truth is, styrofoam recycling is a market that exists in a very small capacity, and thus leaves many people wondering whether it is even recyclable at all. To shed the light on the recycling world of styrofoam, here is all the information you need to ensure you are doing the best for your planet and your own personal carbon footprint.
Is Styrofoam Plastic?
First and foremost, before we get into the nitty-gritty of styrofoam recycling, let’s get a better understanding of what styrofoam actually is and how it’s made. Styrofoam is actually a popular brand name of the well-known material polystyrene, which is essentially a type of petroleum-based plastic. This type of styrofoam is most commonly used as a lightweight protective packaging mechanism and is mostly found when you order home appliances, furniture, and fragile products to your home. Styrofoam is something that we have all come across in our lives and often lands up building in the recycling pile at home, but can styrofoam be recycled at all? The thing about styrofoam and the way it’s made as well as the resources used to create it the recycling process is slightly different from your average plastic green or orange bags mostly due to the way it breaks down or in this circumstance doesn’t break down at all.
Is Styrofoam Recyclable?
The biggest question is can you recycle styrofoam, something that has confused many households since the sustainability of using a recycling bin came into action. So the answer to the question is yes, styrofoam can be recycled, but the recycling process is very difficult. The main reason for this is that the substance is composed of different ingredients from regular recyclable items and although it can biodegrade, it does so in a very, very slow manner. Because styrofoam is very resistant to decomposition by the means of using natural resources such as light and heat if it is recycled into the same pile as other recyclable products it will only slow the process, even more, thus there is a specific technique to recycling styrofoam that is different to the general recycling process we know well.
How To Recycle Styrofoam
So if there is an eco-friendly way to get rid of styrofoam, then how do you recycle styrofoam if it’s not part of the system that we use on a day-to-day basis. Well, there are a few different ways that can recycle styrofoam, the first one has a lot to do with where to recycle styrofoam. The recycling process of styrofoam happens in only very specific recycling centers in which they carry out a process that converts styrofoam packaging, cups, or pieces into a material that can be reused. The first step in carrying out this form of styrofoam recycling is to look up the “styrofoam disposal center near me “, this will show you exactly where you can take your styrofoam and a center that is in the closest proximity to where you live. Once you have found a styrofoam recycle center, you simply need to transport it to such a center, where they have a specifically designed machine that condenses the product. Once the white foam is put through the machine it will reduce to about 1/90 of its original size and have a consistency almost like frozen yogurt, it will then be taken to various factories where it will be turned into usable products such as insulation sheets, construction materials, and even ceiling molding.
Other Ways To Recycle Styrofoam
Taking your styrofoam to a recycling center near you is not the only way to recycle it, in fact, the most efficient and successful way to do so is actually to convert it into other useful items that you can implement into the way you live, in other words, reuse it. The truth is there are many things to do with styrofoam, that can not only be useful, but also fun and creative. So what can you do with styrofoam then? Well, some interesting things you could use your styrofoam packaging for include :
Manis and Pedis
Styrofoam is a great way to ensure that a fresh coat of nail polish stays nice and neat. If you’ve ever had a manicure or pedicure before you’ll know what I mean by that, usually they put a specifically designed tool in-between each finger or toe to keep the fresh polish from smudging. The same can be done with styrofoam, keeping some in the cupboard is the perfect solution for at-home mani’s and pedi’s, all you’ll have to do is simply cut out small chunks that you can wedge between each finger or toe to spread them apart and keep them unblemished.
Staying A Float
One of the most amazing things about styrofoam as a material is that it is 100 percent unsinkable, making it a dream appliance for a hot day in the pool. Your styrofoam can be used as a floating tray to balance your beverage of choice, maybe a plate of refreshing watermelon and a cocktail for that adults. Apart from just carrying your beverages around the pool, large pieces can also be used to carry you. Making a large floaty is another great styrofoam reuse idea that has been tried, tested, and loved.
Gifting and Shipping
One of the most common ways to reuse styrofoam is to use it how you got it. Because of the lightweight strength styrofoam naturally possess, it makes it a great protective mechanism for fragile gifts, especially when they are being transported from one place to another. Styrofoam can be used and given to others when sending gifts for birthdays, baby showers, housewarmings, or any occasion of your choice. It’s a nice, thoughtful and easy way to get some white foam off your chest and onto another without much effort at all.
Helps Your Shrubs Stand Tall
During the winter months of the year, as temperatures decrease and weather conditions become harsher many of the smaller shrubs, bushes, and trees in our gardens struggle to stand up tall when the wind blows, but there is a very easy a useful solution to this problem that all starts with, styrofoam. Because styrofoam is so rigid, insulating, and waterproof, it can help the shrubs by blocking the wind, rain, and slat from negatively affecting the fauna in your garden. This will most definitely give your shrubs, plants, bushes, and small trees a better chance of surviving the winter and a great and environmentally friendly way to reuse your styrofoam.
Styrofoam FAQ, Facts and Information
Just to make sure you understand everything you need to know about styrofoam, here are some of the most frequently asked questions as well as some interesting facts about styrofoam recycling and uses.
- Is Styrofoam recyclable in California?
Styrofoam recycling centers are only present in certain areas of certain states, so in many cases, you may not even have one near you, to begin with. In California, styrofoam recycling is one of the largest growing sectors and has introduced many recycling centers that now accept all clean styrofoam products.
- Can you recycle styrofoam cups?
Many of the cups, plates, and containers made from styrofoam cannot be recycled as they are often created from a subproduct known as polystyrene which needs to be thrown into the rubbish bin.
- Styrofoam can take up to 30 percent of the space in the landfill at any given time.
- Styrofoam is littered more than any other waste product.
- Styrofoam is an air pollutant and can be dangerous.
- Styrofoam pollution is a threat to both animals, humans, and the environment.
- Styrofoam takes over 500 years to fully decompose.
The Bottom Line
You have now gained the knowledge of whether styrofoam recyclable or not and understood how to recycle styrofoam packaging as well as grasp a better understanding of the multitude of purposes it has and why the recycling process is so complicated, but at the end of the day the less you can use the better for us, the animals and the environment.
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