We have done several Styrofoam pickups and they have all been popular. It shows up often since it’s cheap and keeps things safe in transit. Because of all its perks, people often forget or are unaware of how damaging it can be to the environment. That’s why we recycle any Styrofoam that ends up at our house and would like to help you do the same.
Why it shouldn’t go in the landfill
One of the biggest problems with Styrofoam is that it takes up lots of space whether it is in our trash or the landfill. And, it also takes at least 500 years to decompose. More importantly, it is toxic because it’s petroleum-based, containing the expanding agent, hydrocarbon. Essentially, the synthetic chemicals used in the process of producing Styrofoam are carcinogenic. Though it is safe to use; when it is burned, it can be incredibly toxic to its surrounding environment, which is why it needs to be kept away from landfills.
Additionally, besides being harmful to our environment, it can be dangerous for wildlife as well. The lightweight material is not only toxic to humans but can be deadly to birds, wind, and water flow. Its inability to be incinerated safely is why you should be concerned.
What happens when it gets recycled
Another benefit to Styrofoam is that it is easily recycled into new products and there are various ways of doing so. Our local Styrofoam recycling partner collects different types that they heat and form into cubes. Those cubes are then turned into building materials like siding and molding.
Besides this regular process of recycling Styrofoam, there have been breakthroughs in research about a bacteria that is meant to metabolize polystyrene. Essentially, this bacteria is meant to turn polystyrene into a biodegradable plastic so it can be reused.
Another method of how Styrofoam can be recycled includes using limonene, a natural solvent made from orange peels. Limonene dissolved and concentrates the expanded polystyrene to be used reused and one of its perks is “melting” the foam without using heat yet still reducing its size.
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