Polystyrene foam, commonly mistaken as Styrofoam, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical company (http://www.dow.com/), is one of the most commonly used plastics available on the market. In its first iterations as a clear, brittle plastic, polystyrene was used for CD cases and plastics utensils. In its present form with air added, the formula becomes light and buoyant. This development made the use of polystyrene foam proliferate into everyday life.
Polystyrene foam is an extremely useful and valuable material that serves a number of purposes due to its highly sought-after characteristics. For example, polystyrene foam can be easily manipulated and it is light in weight. As a result, it serves as a popular packaging material because it cushions without leading to additional shipping costs due to increased weight. The food industries also take advantage of the material’s inert properties such as its resistance to heat to make containers for warm foods and raw bulk items.
While polystyrene foam is not biodegradable it is easily broken down and recycled into new products such as building insulation, picture frames and more. That being said, polystyrene recycling is a worthwhile endeavor for both communities and businesses interested in reducing the amount of waste entering landfills and further preserving the environment. Currently, over 65 cities across the United States are recycling polystyrene foam. Is yours one?