Unless you’re buying seafood (and maybe not even then) fishy smelling food and drink packaging isn’t going to fly. A project in Europe is working to deodorize styrofoam from fish boxes so they can be recycled into new food-container products. It is coordinated by Cicloplast, a Spanish plastics recycling nonprofit group.centers on the recycling of styrofoam fish boxes, which are used to pack fish on ice and transport them but are rarely recycled.
How to recycle Styrofoam (polystyrene) is not as easy as it seems. EPS or plastic #6 is actually made from styrene which is a by product of petroleum. It is very light since only 5% is styrene while 95% compose of air that makes it very effective as an insulation and packaging material. Recycling EPS follows a very delicate process.
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- All waste Styrofoam or polystyrene foam materials are taken out of collection centers and shipped to the recycling facility. All contaminants are removed; this includes paper, food crumbs and even tapes.
- Sorting takes place to separate clean materials from dirty or soiled waste. Materials that do not pass the clean sorting process are sent for washing.
- Next is the grinder that turns the waste styrofoam into fluff. Other styrofoam material that is not yet clean are rewashed and dried.
- The is then fed into the heat and friction machinery to remove all the air.
- The melted material enters the die with small openings and together with pressure the fluff is extruded and results in polystyrene strands.
- The styrofoam strands are then cooled with water and then chopped into pellets.
The resulting pellets are then shipped to manufacturers to be used as raw material for the production of almost everything from toys to sun visors to motorcycle helmet padding and even as building insulation. The use of recycled Styrofoam raw material is practically endless.
Styrofoam recycling equipment has made significant leaps in the last decade, making the recycling process easier, faster and more cost effective. While taking into consideration the types of styrofoam you will be processing, as well as your facility and its surroundings, another main consideration in equipment selection is staff. Many systems require only one person to dump the styrofoam on a conveyor, which automatically feeds the styrofoam to a grinder, which then feeds into a hopper. Once the hopper is full, the densifier will turn-on automatically and start generating logs of densified material, which can be stacked on a pallet. Hasswell can offer this kind of styrofoam recycling system. Please contact Jossie at 86-20-87566110 for detailed information.
Styrofoam Recycling Machine With Conveyor
The result: the only labor required is to unload the collected styrofoam, remove any contaminate, and then stack the densified logs on a pallet. Choosing a system that keeps staff costs low can make all the difference in establishing a successful operation.
Making the space
It’s possible to create an efficient system in only 85 sq. ft. of space. If space is limited, some grinders can be housed separately from the densifier, and a blower can then be used to transport the ground foam through a tube to a hopper up to 100 feet away from the grinder.
It’s the eternal question: Can I recycle styrofoam?
What is styrofoam?
It’s everywhere: It holds your food, secures items in packages, provides insulation in homes and it’s even in your bike helmet. It’s also known as plastic #6, which you’ve seen used in plastic cups and CD and DVD cases.
Facts about Styrofoam
Only about five percent of a foam package (ie. Styrofoam) is polystyrene. The rest is air.
Styrofoam has many benefits, including insulating quality that helps keep food warm. It is also of light weight, has high durability and strength, making it an excellent packaging material.
Because it’s so lightweight, Styrofoam takes up 0.01 percent of the total municipal solid waste stream by weight, but as you may have guessed, its volume is a greater problem than its weight. It takes up space in landfills and doesn’t biodegrade. This situation adds on to the problem of disposing styrofoam.
The process of recycling Styrofoam
The process of recycling Styrofoam involves feeding the collected Styrofoam through conveyor belts into a shredding machine.
The shredded Styrofoam is then transferred to a plastic extruder where the foam is exposed to heat and pressure to melt the Styrofoam. Subsequently, the melted Styrofoam passes out through a small outlet at the end of the extruder and solidifies into a continuous form.
This form of Styrofoam can then be easily transported to the required factories for remolding (again using heat and pressure) into its new Styrofoam products.
How to Recycle Styrofoam
Styrofoam, also known as EPS, is widely used as containers, packagings and thermal insulation material in buildings. It is hard to break down and takes up too much room in landfill plants, therefore, the recycling of styrofoam is recommended. The following pictures are the recycling steps.
1. Identify products made from Styrofoam by looking for the number 6 inside a recycling triangle
2. Keep polystyrene products to reuse. Some of the most common uses for reusing Styrofoam are:
Enough waste Styrofoam to fill 15,000 Olympic sized swimming pools is sent to landfill every year in the UK alone. The Styrofoam recycling equipment from Hasswell can help densify the waste Styrofoam into blocks.
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Polystyrene (EPS) is produced in thousands of different forms for specific packaging requirements and is also used to make products such as disposable cups, trays, cutlery, cartons, CD cases and containers.
It is conservatively estimated that well over 300,000 tons of waste EPS are produced on an annual basis in the UK. In the USA according to the EPA over 377,579 tons of Styrofoam are produced in California alone.
The volume of landfill space it takes up compared to its weight is considerable as Styrofoam is so light. To put this in perspective 300,000 tons equates to approximately 37.5 million cubic metres or enough to fill 15,000 Olympic sized swimming pools each year!
This material is not generally a high profile target in recycling terms. Many companies and local authorities may not have considered the implications of just how much Styrofoam they are dumping. So what is the solution? The answer is separation, compaction and recycling.