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Name: Rachael A Oflynn, Charlie H Bell
Status: Other
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Question:
Our school has recycled polystyrene foam for the last two years. Now we are told that we have no one who wants to take it. Is polystyrene foam recyclable?
How can we find a place to recycle our lunch trays made of polystyrene foam?



Replies:
Sure it is! First of all, you could reuse polystyrene foam cups and plates for another meal or drink! Secondly, once you separate the polystyrene foam products from other trash so they can be easily recycled, the polystyrene foam is shredded, dissolved in an organic solvent (like acetone, i.e.) and then blown into molds in the shape of cups and plates. This is not always cost-effective for companies which produce these products; that is why this is not a more widespread practice (along with, I guess, the reduction in the use of polystyrene foam products by conscientious consumers)

Wordsworth


You could try calling Waste Management, Inc. (WMX Technologies) or Browning- Ferris (BFI), two major commercial trash collectors. If they do not take polystyrene foam, ask them why not. They will probably say because no one wants to buy the product after it is recycled so they would lose money if they tried to recycle it. When recycling does not work, it is a good idea to find ways to reduce the need for polystyrene foam. Ask your school lunch people and your Principal if your school could use paper trays that are recyclable, or durable plastic or fiberglass trays that are reusable. Another good reason to find a substitute for polystyrene foam trays is that ozone-destroying chemicals may be used in the polystyrene foam making process, so if you use less polystyrene foam, factories will make less polystyrene foam, and less pollution too.

Mortis



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