Recycling saves the environment. Yet, most recycling centers do not take styrofoam even though written on your styrofoam egg cartons is a little recycling symbol. After looking at some recycling department websites, I have found out why they do not take styrofoam and how you can recycle your styrofoam.
Styrofoam can be recycled at recycling centers that have equipment that can break down styrofoam. Most centers do not have this equipment. Therefore, to recycle styrofoam it is necessary to look up a center that is equipped with styrofoam breakers, recycle at home, or resell the styrofoam.
There are many different ways to recycle styrofoam. Read on to figure out the best way to deal with your styrofoam pile.
Recycling Centers Break Down Styrofoam
Styrofoam is a trademark name for a form of expanded polystyrene which is more shortly known as EPS. EPS is created for insulation purposes. It is very helpful in keeping in heat and protecting items during transportation. Yet, it is not very recyclable.
EPS is made of petroleum just like other plastics. Petroleum is what makes other plastics so easily recycled. Therefore, EPS does have the ingredients of what is needed to be recycled. (Source)
Unfortunately, though, 90% of EPS is air. That is what gives the lightweight and easily manipulated aspect to it. With so much air in EPS, to make it into a substance capable of being recycled it needs to be crushed to remove all of the air. Once the air is removed the petroleum can be used to create other things.
To crush the air out of EPS you would need a special machine. This Machine would condense the EPS with incredible strength. While this machine does exist it costs a lot and most centers cannot afford to own the machine. Therefore, most recycling centers are not equipped to take care of your EPS products.
If you were to still send over your EPS without checking whether your local center took it or not it would actually be more damaging. You would interrupt the process for the workers and they would have to throw it away. Therefore, it would end up hurting the environment in two accounts if you absentmindedly send your EPS to be recycled.
How to Find Centers to Recycle Styrofoam
While it is not common to have a facility that recycles EPS, there are a few that has the equipment necessary to remove the petroleum from the EPS. You can search online “where to recycle my styrofoam near me” and you will most likely be shown your closest recycling center with an EPS crusher.
Once you do that you can do two things. One drive down your EPS to the center and drop it off by hand or two mail your EPS. Either way, it is going to cost you gasoline or postage money. Therefore, finding a center to get your EPS recycled is a more expensive endeavor. (Source)
Yet, if you are passionate about making sure your styrofoam is recycled for reuse, this is a great option for you.
How to Reuse Styrofoam
There are still other options on how to recycle styrofoam. You can recycle it yourself. Recycling is when something old is turned into something of use. Therefore, if you find a way to reuse your EPS, you can recycle it in your own home. There are lots of different crafts that use EPS.
An idea of what you can use your EPS for is glue. What you need is your ESP and mix it with d-limonene, which is an essential oil that has a nice citrus scent. Once these two items interact with each other they turn into a sticky substance that can be used as glue.
You can also make homemade pedicure spacers from EPS. Just cut the pieces to be the right size to separate your toes and insert them in. (Source)
EPS can also be used to hold food items. You can use it as a tray for food skewers or popsicles.
You can also reuse EPS for its original purpose, which is for safety while shipping. If the piece of EPS does not fit into the container it is supposed to fit in just tear a portion of the EPS up and use it like packing peanuts.
EPS can also be used for summer swim fun. EPS is a very floatable substance so if you cut the shape outright you can use it as a kickboard at the pool.
Donate your Styrofoam
Styrofoam can be used for a lot of crafts. A lot of schools and daycares are always looking for craft supplies. If you have any nice pieces of styrofoam, they might be overjoyed to take them off of your hands. (Source)
You can look online and find out who your local schools are and give them a call to ask if they are wanting any styrofoam for art supplies. If they say yes you should go and sanitize your styrofoam before giving it to them. Children put things in their mouths and if they stick your styrofoam in their mouth we do not want them to get sick.
The easiest way to sanitize EPS is to get a bucket and fill it with water and add 5-6 drops of dish soap. Once the dish soap has been added, grab a sponge and gently clean the styrofoam.
Once your styrofoam is clean and dry, you can drop it off at your local daycare or school and feel joy knowing that your EPS is going to great use.
How to Resell Styrofoam
Sometimes, you just want to get that styrofoam out of the house. Or possibly you are a little strapped on cash and just want to gain a few extra dollars. Luckily some places buy styrofoam. You can find these places online.
These rebuyers usually pay a couple of dollars per pound of EPS, which adds up over time.
If you are feeling super ambitious you can start a neighborhood EPS recycling bucket and sell more EPS for more profit. This will also help your neighbors to recycle and help save the planet.
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