By Maryruth Belsey Priebe
With a reputation for being hard to recycle, polystyrene, or PS plastic, is another type you should be worried about if you want to clean-up your waste bin and keep plastics from the environment. Used for foam cups and plates, as packing material, in CD containers, and even toys, PS plastic is everywhere, but recycling options are few and far between. Never fear, however. Ecolife has the best recycling PS tips to get you sorting these plastics out of your rubbish pile and into the recycling stream.
Environmental facts about plastic #6
True, polystyrene is a lightweight plastic that requires less energy to make and transport, but it still comes with a few environmental woes that will make you want to think twice about using it in your everyday life:
- Aliases: Known alternately as polystyrene, PS, foam, expanded polystyrene (EPS), or by the trademark “Styrofoam.”
- Consumption rates: PS is one of the only types of plastic going down in terms of consumption – its consumption has been reduced 9% from 1974 to 1999. Recycling rates have also increased a fair bit and close to 30% of all PS packing peanuts are reused rather than recycled or trashed.
- Pollution: Polystyrene plastics are incredibly lightweight (made of primarily air) which means they’re prone to landing in wild spaces and the ocean where they pose threats to wildlife and natural ecosystems.
- Human health: There are concerns that styrene from polystyrene food containers can migrate from the foam into the food or beverage, posing health problems for those consuming the product.
- Decomposition: As with most things in landfills, polystyrene doesn’t generally biodegrade over time. Instead, it just forms a lumpy mess that can form leachate and pollute groundwater as a result.