What Types of Polystyrene Can Be Recycled?

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As a professional polystyrene foam recycling company, StyroCycle is committed to promoting sustainable practices and reducing waste. In this blog, we discuss the different types of polystyrene and which ones can be recycled at our sites.

How is Polystyrene Made?

Polystyrene is a synthetic polymer made from styrene monomers. There are three main types of polystyrene: Rigid Polystyrene (PS), Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS). Each type is manufactured using different processes and is used for specific applications.

What is Rigid Polystyrene (PS)?

PS is used to manufacture a wide range of products, such as disposable cutlery, yoghurt or dessert cups, CD cases, and packaging materials. StyroCycle focuses on expanded polystyrene and is not a rigid polystyrene recycling facility. The different composition of the material requires a different infrastructure setup.

Some government recycling depots and some recycling companies are accepting certain rigid polystyrene items, but it is not a widely accepted material.

Tip: Choose bio-degradable eco-friendly cutlery as disposable cutlery or use regular cutlery, wash and reuse!

What is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)?

EPS is used to make various products, including appliance packaging, fruit and vegetable boxes, and insulation materials. Clean EPS waste can be recycled at StyroCycle sites, where it is granulated and converted back into raw materials.

These raw materials are then used to produce eco-friendly products such as Styroboard XPS, an under-slab and perimeter-slab insulator that contains up to 90% recycled material. It’s interesting to think that the packaging from a fridge or TV gets turned into a product that improves the thermal efficiency of a home!

What is Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)?

XPS is a type of polystyrene made using heat instead of steam. It is commonly used in building materials for under-slab and perimeter-slab insulation, as well as in cool rooms. While XPS cannot be recycled at StyroCycle sites, it can often be taken back to the original manufacturer for recycling ‒ so it’s important you make sure you choose a local supplier that manufactures XPS, not only to recycle but to support Australian manufacturing and the economy.

Polystyrene in Australia

A national plan has been mounted by the Australian government in a fight against the mountains of food packaging plastic waste. Polystyrene foam, in particular, is used to package food, beverages and consumer goods. Its legal use will be phased out over the upcoming years.

While the plan has been welcomed, it has been criticised for having a mostly voluntary requirement for reaching lofty goals. Mandated deadlines would be more impactful. The government also stated its support for a “coordinated global action to address marine plastic” via the related upcoming United Nations treaty.

In conclusion, understanding the different types of polystyrene is crucial to promoting sustainable practices and reducing waste. By recycling clean EPS waste at StyroCycle sites, you are helping to create eco-friendly products, such as insulation for thermally efficient homes,  and contributing to a healthier planet.

Make your company an eco-warrior today! Contact us for polystyrene foam recycling services. #reducereuserecycle

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