Polystyrene Collection iconPolystyrene collection

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Polystyrene is one of the most environmentally damaging products ever, it can take over 500 years for this to decompose in a landfill.

Because of this we have a designated polystyrene collections, these can be collected via our tonne bag service. These bags are dropped off to you and we collect them for you at a convenient time. The polystyrene is then shredded and compacted into blocks to be completely recycled without damaging the environment.

This service can be arranged as either a one off collection or on a scheduled collection whatever suites your needs.

To find out more, call us on 01202 257 530, contact us for a quote, or use our instant recycling quote form to get a recycling quote email to you in minutes. If out of office hours leave a message and we will get right back to you.

What is Polystyrene?

Polystyrene is a hydrocarbon used for a variety of applications including: food packaging material, food trays, and other consumer polystyrene packaging such as polystyrene cups. Extruded polystyrene is commonly used in ceiling insulation. Polystyrenes toxic nature makes it hazardous and should always be disposed of professionally.

It is made by petroleum, which is then made into a liquid hydrocarbon called styrene, which is then converted into polystyrene. This is through a chemical process known as suspension polymerization. Thanks to its structure and starting point as oil, polystyrene is incredibly difficult to degrade.

Certain types of polystyrene are recyclable in the UK. You need to determine whether the polystyrene waste you have is classic polystyrene or expanded polystyrene (EPS).


How Polystyrene is Recycled

There are three common methods of recycling polystyrene. These are:

  • Granulation: Lighter density forms of polystyrene can go through a machine known as a granulator. This machine separates down to the tiny beads that make it up, which are then are mixed into unused polystyrene granules.
  • Compacting: For denser forms of polystyrene, they have to go into a compactor that presses them together. The resulting material is a very heavy and thick bale of pure polystyrene. These bales go through a machine that then shreds them into new General Purpose Polystyrene Pallets.
  • Densifying: There are other methods of recycling that are used less frequently, too. For instance, expanded polystyrene can be fed into a machine called a foam densifier. After it’s shredded, this machine exposes the foam to heat and pressure, melting it down into a paste which is then cooled into a block of solid polystyrene, extracting all of the air. Like compacting, the blocks of polystyrene can then be shredded into new General Purpose Polystyrene Pallets.

To learn more about Polystyrene Recycling, click here.


New Breakthrough in the Polystyrene Recycling Process

Researchers have found a way to upcycle plastic waste into more valuable products, which they say could help tackle the growing accumulation of non-degradable waste polluting our cities and threatening life in our oceans.

Guoliang Liu at Virginia Tech and his colleagues have developed a method to break down polystyrene and convert it into a chemical that is far more valuable. The process is energy efficient and adaptable to other plastics, the researchers say.

Less than 10 per cent of the world’s polystyrene is currently recycled and many countries don’t recycle it at all because there is no economic incentive, says Liu. Polystyrene waste is expensive to transport and costly to break down, and recycling it only creates more polystyrene, which has little value.

Discarded protective packaging and takeaway food containers made from polystyrene don’t break down naturally. They often make their way into the sea through rivers or are sometimes burned, releasing toxic chemicals.

Read the full News Scientist article here.