The environment has dominated the news cycles of years and rightly so. This is our only home, and it deserves to be treated with the utmost of respect and appreciation for the life it continues to house. As global warming and climate change continues to spiral further and further out of control with unnecessary carbon emissions, new oil spills every week, and politicians who continue to either have their heads in the sand or allow themselves to be purchased by corporate interests, we need to continue to find ways to save this planet. Many cities across the United States have looked to implement a polystyrene foam ban, claiming it cannot be recycled.
While their hearts are in the right place, foam actually can be recycled. In fact, many places across the United States are already recycling the foam for reuse, cutting down on the damage and trash buildup we leave in the environment. For more information on how to recycle this foam, see below!
In truth, only about five percent of a foam package is actually the substance polystyrene. Most of the packaging is actually air. This is the reason why this foam is easy to break with your hands. This means there is actually less to deal with than appears on the surface. It helps to insulate packages, keeping them both safe and warm.
The negative campaign against this material comes from the fact that it is made from the same substance we use to power our cars: petroleum. This contributes to the negative media campaign and the banning of this substance in over 20 cities already.
Despite these issues, foam can actually be easily recycled. The recycling process starts by collecting foam and using conveyor belts to feed the material into a shredding machine. This breaks the foam down into small amounts that can be transferred to a plastic machine that uses both heat and pressure to melt the foam. Once the foam is broken down into this early form, the molten mixture exits and machine and solidifies again into a solid state. It is then transported to a separate machine where it is broken down into foam again for further use.
While it is important to care for the environment, it is important to collect all of the facts before making a decision. foam can be recycled and thus does not deserve to be banned from cities.