What to Do With Polystyrene: Making Money From Your Used Polystyrene

Many business owners and facilities managers will at some point ask, “Is polystyrene recyclable?” Now there are a number of myths about polystyrene recycling, but the answer is a resounding “yes”. In fact, being able to resell polystyrene is a competitive advantage and can be a crucial part of a waste management policy.

Basically, if your company sends its waste polystyrene to landfill along with the rest of its waste, you’re missing a trick! Used polystyrene is a useful product for a number of industries, such as white goods retailing, food processing and construction.

So how can you turn polystyrene into a new revenue stream? The answer is through compacting. Polystyrene compactors can be used to turn waste polystyrene into compacted ‘bricks’ which can be reused for various reasons. But what else do you need to know? What other possibilities are there?

Here’s all the information you need to recycle polystyrene and make money from it. 

The Polystyrene Recycling Summary

For those short of time, we’ve condensed this blog into bullet points:

  • Polystyrene can be sent to landfill, but landfill costs are increasing. Recycling is the cheaper option over time. 
  • Large quantities of waste polystyrene benefit the most from recycling.
  • Polystyrene compactors are available in the waste management machinery market. 
  • Polystyrene can be sold for up to £600 per tonne.
  • Compacted polystyrene saves space on sites where waste can pile up. 

To see what polystyrene compactors are available today, follow this link.

Sending Polystyrene to Landfill

You can send polystyrene to landfill, however, it’s not a good idea. Sending polystyrene to landfill has certain costs attached — such as the Landfill Tax, the standard rate of which is currently £96.70 per tonne, which increased from £94.15 per tonne in 2020.

This method of waste removal is also not very environmentally friendly and makes no sense when there are alternative options that include an additional revenue stream.

The Possibilities of Used Polystyrene

Polystyrene is the perfect waste material to compact and sell on to recyclers. If your company regularly deals with polystyrene, this could prove lucrative in the long run. 

Organisations in any industry have the ability to sell used polystyrene. Small quantities can be uneconomic to recycle, but many companies store compacted polystyrene and have recyclers collect when there is enough to make it worthwhile.

Recycling Polystyrene

The polystyrene recycling process is straightforward. First, polystyrene must be compacted

Compacted polystyrene needs to be stacked onto pallets ready for collection. Recyclers sell the waste material in bulk to re-processors. It will then be turned into many types of different items, from picture frames to skirting boards.

To see polystyrene being compacted, watch this video where our Cobalt SC3100 makes quick work of wasted polystyrene, turning into compacted blocks. 

Making Money From Polystyrene

Prices do vary, but in the current market, you’ll receive on average, £500 per tonne, depending on the quantity. Many companies make this form of waste an additional revenue stream. To find out the latest prices and how much you can expect to make, speak to us.

In terms of effort, very little is required, especially in comparison to the additional revenue generated. If your company produces small amounts of polystyrene, you can come to an agreement with the recycler for them to wait until you have a certain number of pallets before it is collected. This is typically five pallets but it can vary.

If you’re looking to try and gain revenue from your used polystyrene, speak to us to find out about the process, how much you can expect to earn and the best compactor to use. We can also introduce you to the recyclers who will buy your used polystyrene.

Polystyrene and Waste Backhaul

Polystyrene takes up a lot of space in on-site wheelie bins. Instead, it can be compacted, stacked on pallets and returned to your central distribution centre. This will substantially reduce the waste costs at stores and generate a healthy revenue back at the central location.

Contamination Levels

Dirty polystyrene is fine and can still be recycled. Typical applications include fish box material, but this is certainly no problem for recycling. There are existing recycling routes that pay a healthy return for this product.

Got to the end and you’re looking for more info? We’ve got the brochure for you.

Ready to Optimise Your Waste Production With Waste Compactors?

Waste management is easier than ever. Here at Greenbank, we can help

If you’re interested in utilising polystyrene compactors for your business and want more information, we’ve got you covered. Explore our polystyrene compactor brochure to see what machines are available, their specifications and their capabilities.

Just click the button below to get your brochure. 

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