Styrofoam has a bulk density of between 10 – 80 kg/m3. The high volume and low weight nature of this waste has a significant impact on the overall costs of Styrofoam recycling, through high collection and transportation costs. With a large proportion of available waste arising from large retailers and producers, sorted at source, reverse logistics, i.e. filling returning lorries with Styrofoam waste can help reduce these costs, as can co-collecting separated waste with other industrial or trade recyclables and densification.
Only clean Styrofoam is usually requested and simple processing techniques are used to produce a granular, Styrofoam product; processing costs of € 100 have been reported. The cost range detailed, € 300 – 1,700 is not typical of collection systems. It also reflects private collection initiatives which may have to establish independent collection systems, however, the overall cost of the system is highly influenced by the collection method employed.