Recycling is a hot topic in 2019 and is set to continue to be so. We often hear about household recycling and the waste materials you can and can’t pop in the relevant bin. How about for a business though? What’s your current recycling process and are you making the most out of it? Could you do more that will even save time and money? Today we are investigating polystyrene and the benefits of its specific recycle process.
What exactly is polystyrene?
Available in solid blocks or foam, polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic hydrocarbon made from the monomer styrene. It’s a clear, hard, brittle, lightweight material, often used in packaging. Polystyrene is an inexpensive material and is therefore widely used, particularly among factories manufacturing companies and the food industry.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific industries and products that make use of polystyrene. If you resonate with any of these we will tell you later on in this post, how you can successfully recycle the material whilst making a profit.
Appliances: Ideal for the packaging and transportation of fridges, air conditioners, ovens, microwaves, hoovers, blenders and more. Polystyrene doesn’t react with other materials making it ideal.
Electronics: Computers, televisions and IT equipment are required to look fantastic when unboxed. They need to be unscathed and look just as good as they did on the shelf. Polystyrene is the best solution.
Food Industry: This type of packaging is perfect for keeping food fresh for longer periods of time. It also makes fantastic insulation and is a cheap option to many of the available alternatives.
Medical Industry: Polystyrene is easy to sterilise making it a good choice for medical applications. Tissue culture trays, test tubes, petri dishes, test kits and medical devices are all transported with the material.
Threats of Polystyrene After Use
Landfill: Unfortunately, much of this material ends up in landfills and remains here for hundreds of years.
Marine Life: Unfortunately, whilst breaking down into particles, polystyrene looks like tasty fish food. This clogs digestive systems before killing a large proportion of marine life. Statistics suggest that polystyrene is actually responsible for between 60 and 80% of marine waste.
Air Quality: When burned in backyard fires of barrels, polystyrene releases toxic chemicals into the air.
There are numerous news reports and campaigns, all attributed to recycling but many of these seem to focus around plastic, glass and cardboard. It seems polystyrene often falls by the wayside and it’s difficult to understand why.
What are the benefits of recycling polystyrene?
Litter Reduction: Probably the most obvious solution. By carefully recycling polystyrene, the amount going to landfill and ending up in the sea is reduced; as long as this is done properly.
Size Reduction: During the recycle process, material is reduced by around 95% every time.
Carbon Footprint: The origins of polystyrene surround petroleum. Recycling not only reduces carbon footprint it puts less pressure on the limited resources available.
Space Saving: Because polystyrene is reduced to around 5% of its original capacity, it takes up minimal space.
Additional Revenue Stream: Because there is a market ready and waiting for polystyrene blocks, this makes the perfect additional revenue stream for a business.
Additional Benefits: Fuel production, job creation and provides an eco-friendly process.
How can I effectively recycle polystyrene?
First of all, you need to determine how much polystyrene your company uses on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. From here you can begin investigating polystyrene compactors. These machines come with an abundance of benefits. By loading the waste material directly into the compactor, a large press force is applied in order to reduce the size of polystyrene. From here, bales are created in varying sizes, depending upon the machine model. Compactors are very straightforward to operate and usually have touch screen controls. They are low maintenance and can deal with both wet and dry polystyrene. Once you have enough bales these can be collected and paid for by a recycling company of your choice. Not only will you be reducing the carbon footprint of your company, additional revenue will enter the business through such a simple process.
Reduce waste being sent to landfill and the costs attached to this. Review existing policies on carbon footprint and investigate polystyrene compactors. We’re on hand to answer any questions you may have.