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.
One of the first things a company or local authority recycling centre can do is to take note of just how much waste Styrofoam they produce. Running a trial of separating Styrofoam before it goes into a skip may show just how much could be potentially recycled.
Styrofoam is compacted to reduce the amount of space needed for storage and also to reduce transport costs. The historical method of Styrofoam compaction is by mechanical means. The Styrofoam is pushed through a compactor to reduce its volume by around half, it is then formed into blocks and stored.
Reducing the amount of landfill space Styrofoam takes by up to 95% would be reason enough to thermally compact and densify this material.
But Styrofoam holds a few recycling secrets.
This material can be recycled into a myriad of new products. The thermally condensed blocks can be turned into coat hangers, picture frames, replacement hardwood, disposable cameras and CD cases to name but a few. There is also an emerging market for Styrofoam blocks for the production of fuels such as green diesel and LPG.
The thermally compacted blocks can also be sold to a variety of outlets for incineration (or energy recovery). The reason for this demand is that incineration of polystyrene generates large quantities of usable energy – approximately 16,000 BTUs/pound, which is twice that of coal!
Alternatively organisations who produce thermally compacted blocks can also take advantage of a service to collect the material in the UK free of charge subject to volume agreements.
It is a fact that as a society we produce too much waste. Landfill sites are becoming increasingly full and cannot last forever. Therefore any method of taking a product from cradle to grave and recycling it has to be more than welcome.