Foam Polystyrene is used in food packaging to make cups, bowls, plates, trays, clamshells, meat trays and egg cartons; for protective packaging for shipping electronics and other fragile items.
Rigid Polystyrene is used in products such as cutlery, yogourt containers, drinking cups and clear bakery and produce containers.
A Valuable Packaging and Food Service Material
Highly valued by the foodservice sector and packaging industry, polystyrene packaging: • keeps food safe • keeps hot foods hot, cold foods cold • is clean and sanitary • protects fragile goods • costs less
And because PS is so lightweight, it requires less energy to manufacture and transport. That saves resources and reduces air emissions.
Polystyrene gets the job done!
But what about the material after it has been used? While it is 100% recyclable, the single-biggest challenge has been the cost of moving PS foam to recycling plants. Why? Because PS foam is more than 90% air. It takes up a lot of space, and is therefore more expensive to ship.
But no longer. Today, an exciting new technology is revolutionizing the recycling of polystyrene foam. A technology that compresses the foam and squeezes out the air to densify it; making it more economic to recycle. Shipping costs drop dramatically.
That’s a huge savings – both for the environment and in shipping costs! Filled to capacity, a semi-truck trailer can carry only slightly more than half a tonne of loose PS foam.
But loaded with densified material, it can carry about 20 tons. It’s like taking 35 trucks off the road for every one that remains.
How Does It Work?
Click on video below:
Post-consumer PS foam is collected through either curbside…or depot programs.
The material is then sent to the densifier where it is compacted into blocks.
From there, it goes to a recycler. The plastic blocks are re-manufactured into commercially successful products – including decorative mouldings and high-end picture frames.
Products Recycled from Foam PS
These recycled goods are sold across North America and enjoy strong demand. It is estimated that the global market for post-consumer PS foam is now some 120,000 tonnes a year.