New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food packaging, which is commonly referred to by the Dow trademark Styrofoam, in February.
In a Bloomberg News article, the mayor describes the material as “something that we know is environmentally destructive and that may be hazardous to our health, that is costing taxpayers money and that we can easily do without, and is something that should go the way of lead paint.”
According to the city, an estimated 20,000 tons of EPS food packaging enter its waste stream per year and removing the material from the recycling stream adds an estimated $20 per ton to the cost of recycling. Continue reading
What exactly is Styrofoam? What are the different Styrofoam properties? In this article, we shall learn about the physical and chemical properties of Styrofoam.
Styrofoam, commonly known as ‘polystyrene’ is one of the most widely used type of plastics, is an inexpensive and hard plastic that use in a number of applications. The outside housing of computer, housings of most kitchen appliances, model cars and airplanes, toys, molded parts in cars are all made of Styrofoam. It is also made in the form of foam that is used for packaging and insulating.
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.
The Leicester University students are working on a project to genetically engineer a new organism that will quickly break down polystyrene waste. The team of second-year students, who make up Leicester’s International Genetically Engineered Machine team (iGEM), want to find examples of bacteria which already degrade polystyrene to help them design a more efficient organism.
To help them in the project, they are issuing ‘citizen science’ kits to help with the research. In exchange for a small donation to the project, volunteers will receive a kit containing a piece of polystyrene which they can simply bury in their garden, allotment or plant pot and leave for several months before sending it back to the team in a postage-paid envelope. Continue reading