What exactly is â€śStyrofoamâ€ť and how can you recycle it?
Styrofoam is a generic term for polystyrene foam. In 1941 Dow Chemical Company trademarked the name Styrofoam for their closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam, XPS, which is also very similar to expanded polystyrene, EPS. Styrofoam was originally used in thermal applications because of its resistance to moisture and insulating properties. It was later adopted by the U.S. Coast Guard because of its buoyancy and used to make life rafts. In todayâ€™s applications you will most commonly come across EPS in packaging materials, food containers, coolers, etc.
Styrofoam makes for excellent protective material when packaging and transporting goods. Unfortunately it takes a lot of Styrofoam to adequately protect a 46â€ť LCD TV and a lot of it ends up in the landfill. Studies have shown that as little as 10-12% of Styrofoam is recycled and one can only guess where the other 90% ends up. A single Styrofoam cup will take more than 500 years to completely degrade.
Thankfully there is a local resource, ACH Foam Technologies, who will accept and recycle your clean, non-food container XPS and EPS foam. I need to emphasize clean because this is important. Make sure there is no tape, residue, paper, etc. on the Styrofoam. It must be clean Styrofoam. Also ACH will not accept Styrofoam food containers because of the leftover food residue.
ACH essentially grinds it up into loose Styrofoam pellets and then compacts them into more manageable and appropriately shaped bricks. Now you have a resource that can appropriately reuse your excess Styrofoam.
ACH Foam Technologies, LLC
5250 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80216-1938