Is Styrofoam Recyclable? A Guide to Eco-Friendly Disposal

Is Styrofoam Recyclable? A Guide to Eco-Friendly Disposal

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Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam blocks could also be simple and cheap to supply, however they are often detrimental to the environment. Globally, about 2.3 million tons of EPS are discarded into landfills annually, and the fabric can take as much as 500 years to decompose. This materials can leak toxins and chemical substances into the encompassing setting, presenting well being dangers to people and wildlife.

Similarly, extruded polystyrene (XPS) — or Styrofoam — is manufactured with chlorofluorocarbons (CFS) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These greenhouse gases can have damaging results on our ozone layer. 

Fortunately, there are numerous methods to repurpose EPS and XPS and keep away from tossing them within the rubbish.

Styrofoam and other foam products

Styrofoam and other foam products

Can You Recycle Styrofoam?

In concept, Styrofoam must be recyclable because it has the “chasing arrows” brand. However, most native governments don’t permit merchandise like packing peanuts, foam egg cartons and trays in curbside recycling.

Styrofoam is technically recyclable, nevertheless it’s extremely inefficient to recycle. It’s cumbersome, light-weight and tough to scrub as a result of its porous nature. It comprises over 90% air, but it occupies vital area in business recycling bins. More compact recyclables like aluminum and glass cans are a greater use of area.

Many curbside recycling applications think about EPS a “recycling contaminant,” which means it’s a non-recyclable merchandise that has been positioned within the recycling system anyway. Most of those applications both don’t settle for EPS or lack the potential to recycle this materials.

The Environmental Risks of Styrofoam

When polystyrene leads to landfills, it could possibly pose vital hazards to our ecosystems. Because the fabric is nonbiodegradable, it places surrounding wildlife in danger. As it breaks down into smaller items, seabirds and different animals can mistake it for meals. Styrofoam accommodates toxins that may hurt or kill wildlife. It may also block their stomachs, impeding their sense of starvation and inflicting hunger.

Since polystyrene foam floats, it could possibly journey via waterways throughout the globe. Polystyrene accounts for 10%-40% of plastics present in waterways and is probably the most regularly littered waste product.

How to Dispose of Styrofoam Without Throwing It Away

While Styrofoam isn’t all the time recyclable, you may nonetheless keep away from throwing it away with the remainder of your trash. Repurposing your gadgets is among the simplest and most effective methods to assist the planet. Finding a brand new use on your polystyrene foam retains it out of landfills, minimizing environmental hurt. It additionally reduces the necessity for brand new Styrofoam manufacturing, which helps preserve power and sources.

Repurposing Styrofoam gives a number of alternatives to get artistic. Whether gardening, crafts or DIY insulation, the chances are numerous. Here are some modern methods to repurpose your Styrofoam:

1. Potted Plant Drainage

When repotting a plant, you may scale back a few of the quantity and weight by filling the underside of the container with foam packing peanuts, then pouring soil over them. Styrofoam makes a wonderful drainage layer for potted vegetation or seedlings, stopping extra moisture and rotted roots.

Gardeners sometimes use gravel or pebbles for drainage, which may make potted vegetation heavier and harder to work with when repotting. Styrofoam is light-weight, making it a helpful different.

Keep in thoughts that it is best to solely use this technique for non-edible vegetation. Using Styrofoam for edible vegetation will contaminate the meals and make it unsafe for consumption.

2. Stuffing or filling

If you may have any previous bean bag chairs, stuffed animals or throw pillows which have misplaced a few of their stuffing, you may restore their structural integrity by filling them with Styrofoam peanuts.

3. Arts and Crafts

Styrofoam can be utilized for arts and crafts, like pencil or pin holders, vacation ornaments and as a part of numerous DIY residence decor tasks. Make positive the Styrofoam is clear and dry earlier than you utilize it. 

4. Insulation

Since Styrofoam is sturdy and might face up to excessive temperatures, it may be used to insulate buildings like attics, garages and gear sheds. Consult an expert to make sure the proper utility method.

recycling Styrofoam

recycling Styrofoam

How to Find a Styrofoam Recycling Facility

While recycling is one of the best things for the environment, it isn’t all the time an possibility with polystyrene foam. However, you might be able to recycle, or on the very least repurpose, your Styrofoam relying on the place you reside.

If curbside recycling isn’t an possibility, you may strive searching for a recycling facility that may settle for your Styrofoam. These amenities will often take clear EPS and XPS packing supplies, like these in protecting packaging or meals containers. Research on-line to seek out the closest facility, or name your native recycling middle, to confirm in case your foam packaging is recyclable.

Dispose of Styrofoam Using These Green Methods

Whether you determine to repurpose your Styrofoam or drop it off at your native recycling middle, these environmentally pleasant strategies assist maintain this materials out of our nation’s rubbish cans and landfills. Lower your carbon footprint one packing peanut or foam piece at a time with these sustainable disposal suggestions.