The Styrofoam material finds wide usage in many areas and settings. These include the manufacture of mattresses, building insulation boards, and a host of other thermal insulation items. With time, these items become obsolete and in need of disposal. There is a catch, however.
Styrofoam is a substance that is quite toxic. It can never be just thrown into the environment like that. That may pose some irreversible damages to the environment. We draft and dedicate this article to the matter of how to throw away Styrofoam. Here, we aim at letting you know the best practices to follow.
How to Dispose of Styrofoam?
There are three main ways of disposing of the Styrofoam materials. In this section, we highlight those ways and in turn offer further explanations on how to go about the task of each of them. As you are about to note, each approach you opt for has its own intrigues.
Option I: Throw away the Styrofoam
As its designation implies, this one entails simply throwing the Styrofoam away in a municipal landfill, dumpster, or trash bags.
It is by far the most common approach for those who have no financial muscle to undertake the remaining methods. The procedures below aid with it:
Get rid of any parts that may be recycled and are attached to the Styrofoam.
These include the papers, tapes, boards, or any other organic components. The object of this is to salvage as many parts as can be practically possible. Also, it entitles you to some rebates.
Crush the Styrofoam now into smaller particles.
To do this, you may use a variety of tools and items. Common examples of these are the boards, spatula, and the hammer. Take great care as you do this given the similarly toxic nature of the Styrofoam material.
Dispose of the Styrofoam in the dumpster or the municipal garbage bin.
In this last step, you should also take care that you seal the contents firmly to prevent the air from escaping outside. Remember, if this air is inhaled, it may cause respiratory issues or permanent damages to the lungs.
Option II: Recycle the Styrofoam
This second option entails recycling the Styrofoam i.e. converting it to some other usage besides the original purpose. Of course, this is not a task you can do singlehandedly.
You have to be in close contact with the nearby recycling firm to be able to actualize it. Follow the procedures below to do it:
Most recycling plants only accept plain white Styrofoam.
You hence have to first and foremost ascertain that you indeed have it. If you do not, you may still have your way but only in some limited installations. Consult an expert to aid you if stuck.
Go ahead now to look for the triangular recycling symbol that is patched on your Styrofoam.
This is a symbol that the foam is indeed recyclable. Chances are that by the time you are in need of recycling the item, this mark has faded away completely. Fret not as you may still recycle the item altogether.
Make arrangements to drop the Styrofoam at your local recycling plant or program.
This may entail you seeking the firms nearby via your local directories. Then, you must also know how to transport the item to the drop-off point and the costs involved in the entire exercise.
In case you have no physical drop-off points nearby, you may have to mail the same to the firm.
This of course entails the use of a courier to transport it to the designated locale. It is an option that is convenient yes, but quite expensive to undertake on the whole.
Option III: Reuse or Upcycle the Styrofoam
Other than dumping or recycling, you may also consider refurbishing and reusing the Styrofoam altogether. Refurbishing basically breathes a new lease of life to the Styrofoam and makes the same service you for an extended length of time than it would normally. Try out these ideas:
Use the Styrofoam as packaging.
The items that pack the Styrofoam may be cleaned and used to hold household items and other goods on an everyday basis. Since Styrofoam is toxic, you may never use the packaging to handle and transport the groceries lest you be poisoned.
Consider donating the items to a charity.
Let the charity also use the same to handle and tackle their other chores. Other than the charity, you may also think of the local shipping stores. They too need these packaging to handle and transport their merchandise.
You may employ the foam to generate crafts, props, and sets.
This requires that you first and foremost dismantle the item and repurpose them altogether. Of course, you have to possess the necessary expertise while at the same time adhering to strict safety standards.
If you have some indoor plants, you may also use Styrofoam as the planter fillers.
In this case, they act as materials that prop the plants firmly in place. Also, they may enhance the drainage of water and the availability of the mineral or nutrients to the roots of the plants.
Can I Put Styrofoam in the Trash Can?
YES, you can! However, you must first and foremost get rid of the recyclable parts and components from it.
Then, you have to crash it in finer powders after which you are to drop the same in the trash can.
You are strongly advised to seal off the can to prevent the same from getting inhaled by third parties.
Which is Better for Disposing Styrofoam: Burn It Vs. Throw It Away?
You have two main ways of completely disposing of the Styrofoam; burning or throwing away. Of these two, safely throwing away is the better. Burning it releases unhealthy carbon monoxide and Black Carbon in the air. These two are not healthy for the lungs at all.
Moreover, as we have already mentioned, this substance may be recycled or repurposed. These two issues can never be implemented when the burning route is followed.
Additionally, some local authorities also advance rebates to those households or people who choose to surrender their Styrofoam to them.
To be on the safe side, the item has to be broken down and disposed of in a manner that is officially acceptable. That is to strike a balance between the extremes and also manage proper care for the environment altogether. Follow the guidelines laid down by your local health office.
Let us now take the time to provide answers to some of the frequently asked questions that surround this wonderful topic of how to throw away the Styrofoam materials:
What Is a Styrofoam?
A. Styrofoam is a kind of Polystyrene material that is light but strong. The material is derived from petroleum and is made of styrene monomers. This material is largely used to insulate surfaces and other objects in the home. You will find it in great quantities in the roofs, walls, and foundations.
Other than that, many manufacturers of mattresses also employ it thanks to its awesome insulation properties. The item does ward off the infiltration of the cold and at the same time allow for the trapping of the interior heat in the blankets. It also has the advantage of lasting longer.
Can I Put Styrofoam in the Recycle Bin?
A. WHY NOT? As we have already hinted, this material may indeed be placed in the recycle bin. Before this can happen, all the parts that may be recycled have to be eliminated. Then, the material itself has to be crushed in the finest particles. It is only thereafter that the same may be dumped in the recycle bin.
Why is Styrofoam not recyclable?
A. Two reasons account for this. First, this item is too dense. Chances of it choking the recycling facility are hence higher. Then again, there is the possibility of contaminating the environment and the apparatus used or dedicated for the job. Need we add that the entire exercise is not cost-effective also?
What can you do with leftover Styrofoam?
A. You may use the same to enhance the growth of indoor plants, make super glue, decorate the patio, bunt your outdoors, insulate the doors and the windows, or dedicate to the matters of junk modeling. Be sure to match the use with the necessary safety procedures as you go about it.
What can you do with Styrofoam packaging?
A. You may repurpose and use it to handle and transport most of the common household goods. Alternatively, you may donate the same to a charity or any other not-for-profit organization to have the same used in ways that are beneficial to the general public.
Okay! Have we not belabored all that may be necessary about how to throw away Styrofoam? Is it too much of us to challenge you to implement the wisdom we have generously furnished? Waste no time as the sum total benefits are too huge to forfeit or delay harnessing.