Is Polystyrene Recyclable? Top 4 Advantages and Disadvantages

Is Polystyrene Recyclable? Top 4 Advantages and Disadvantages

Yes. Polystyrene is recyclable. There are many types of plastics. Polystyrene is a type of plastic that can be recycled. It is strong and durable, making it a good choice for products that need to be stored long term. It is a common recyclable material used in packaging and other products. For example, it's the packing material used to cushion goods for shipping that you see in take-out coffee cups and egg cartons. Many people refer to it as Styrofoam, but that is actually the brand name of a rigid blue insulation manufactured by Dow Chemical Company. Some experts debate whether polystyrene is recyclable, but it seems to be an increasingly popular choice for materials because of its low environmental impact. Although polystyrene is a versatile material, recycling it is not always simple.

Polystyrenes That Can Be Recyclable.

If you're wondering which polystyrenes are recyclable (i.e., expandable polystyrenes), here's a list:
  1. Insulation for the floor, walls, and flat roof
  2. Fill material blocks and planks
  3. Form-moulded packaging (usually for electricals)
  4. Packaging for fish boxes
  5. Razors that are disposable
  6. Balls for packaging
  7. Car seating and insulation

Top 4 Advantages Of Recycling Polystyrene

  • "Wood" polystyrene - A product that looks like wood and can be used for park benches and fence posts is an intriguing use of recycled EPS. The material is less expensive than hardwood and can be used in place of woods harvested from rainforests such as mahogany and teak.

  • The production of polystyrene necessitates the use of petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. As a result, recycling polystyrene lowers the amount of oil required for the manufacturing process. Of course, this is not a pure gain because some energy is still required to transport and reprocess the material.

  • Polystyrene occupies landfill space, where it will remain for hundreds of years. The industry claims that this is not a significant disadvantage because modern landfills are sealed from moisture and light and are not designed to promote biodegradation. Even organic waste does not decompose once it reaches a landfill.

  • Polystyrene is also harmful to marine life. As it wears out over time, EPS disintegrates into tiny particles, which look like food to fish and may be eaten. The foam clogs marine animals' digestive systems, killing them. According to a 2008 review in Environmental Research, EPS accounts for 60 to 80 percent of marine litter. Recycling can help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the ocean.

Top 4 Disadvantages Of Recycling Polystyrene

  • EPS foam takes up storage space and costs more to transport because it is bulky, but it only yields a small amount of polystyrene for re-use or remoulding (polystyrene accounts for only 2% of the volume of un-compacted EPS foams). This gives recyclers little incentive to consider EPS recycling.

  • Products used to hold or store food must be thoroughly cleaned for sanitary reasons, adding to the costs. These products, for the same reasons, cannot be recycled to make the same food containers and are instead used to make non-food plastic products. As a result, new polystyrene is always required in the production of food containers.

  • While some foamed polystyrene material is reused (packaging peanuts), most material used for food or beverage containers are one use materials. Recycling is technically feasible, but it is not currently economically viable.

  • The high cost of transporting bulky polystyrene waste discourages recycling. Organisations that receive a large amount of EPS foam (particularly in packaging) can invest in a compactor to reduce product volume. Recyclers will pay more for the compacted product so the investment can be recovered relatively easier.

The advantages and disadvantages of recycling polystyrene are a good example of the complex issues that can arise when looking for ways to conserve resources and protect the environment. Solutions, such as recycling polystyrene, are not always simple. But we can't avoid the question entirely by using different materials. The paper cup that holds your take-out coffee, for example, is usually plastic-coated and not recyclable. It also does not degrade in landfills. Even a ceramic cup requires much more energy to produce than a polystyrene one and typically continues to use energy to heat the water needed to wash it. There may be long-term savings, but the choice is not as clear.

Using plastics from the oceans and recycling them into medical wear. Know More.


  • Can I put polystyrene in the recycling?

All types of expanded polystyrene can be recycled. So, before you recycle polystyrene, make sure your local recycling facility accepts it.

  • Why can I put polystyrene in my recycle bin?

Because, it is recyclable.

  • Is polystyrene recyclable in the UK?

It is completely recyclable. More than half of all EPS packaging is recycled, according to the Expanded Polystyrene Group, a trade association affiliated with the British Plastics Federation.

  • Can you recycle Styrofoam?

Styrofoam, or expanded polystyrene (EPS), does not degrade or break down over time. Styrofoam is recyclable, but only a small number of recycling facilities accept it. The best way to recycle Styrofoam is to use less of it.

  • How to dispose of polystyrene?

All types of expanded polystyrene can be recycled. So, before you recycle polystyrene, make sure your local recycling facility accepts it.

  • What are the uses of polystyrene?

Polystyrene (PS) is used to make disposable plastic cutlery and dinnerware, CD "jewel" cases, smoke detector housings, licence plate frames, plastic model assembly kits, and a variety of other objects that require a rigid, cost-effective plastic.

  • Can you recycle polystyrene?

Polystyrene can be recycled. First, it is shipped to a recycling facility, where it is sorted and cleaned. The polystyrene is then shredded into tiny pieces. It is then heated, which causes it to melt into a paste. Before being shipped to another facility, the paste is compressed and dried into pellets or blocks. It is transformed into new products there.

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