In classroom discussions, many questions are asked about the impact of polystyrene on the environment. Here are the set of frequently asked questions and facts regarding polystyrene and. In this way, we can understand more how we can understand polystyrene better and remove possible misconceptions about this.
Question: Is Polystyrene packaging necessary for food packaging?
Answer: With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, society requires a fast and reliable way of being served fresh, clean food in most convenient and sanitary way. This is one advantage of polystyrene which reusable or paper packaging cannot offer, speed and reliability. Other qualities that can be attributed to the use of polystyrene both in food packaging and protective packaging are: it is sanitary, sturdy, economical and more dependable.
Question: Is it true that polystyrene is non-boidegradeable therefore is bad for the environment?
Answer: According to the Garbage Project conducted by Dr. William Rathje of the University of Arizona, nothing biodegrades in modern landfills — not even paper or food. However, over time, decomposition of these biodegradeable materials occur producing methane gas allowing potentially toxic leachate to pollute underground water. Because polystyrene is chemically inert, it will not decompose or harm our resources if disposed in landfills.
Question: Do Foam and solid polystyrene constitute the bulk of the solid waste and landfills?
Answer: Foam Polystyrene constitutes only about 1/8 of 1% of the total waste thrown in landfills. Even in developed countries like the United States, Foam PS is only approximately 0.5% of the volume of solid waste. PS is a thermoplastic, therefore it is 100% recyclable. By this reason, it should not go ito the waste stream.
Question: Does Polystyrene contains harmful CFC’s that contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer and global warming?
Answer: Most polystyrene foam manufacturers have never used CFC. A few who did have voluntarily converted to other alternative blowing agents since 1992, way before the deadline set by the provisions of the Montreal Protocol, making this package material 100% free of ozone depleting substances.
Question: Is polystyrene hazardous when burned?
Answer: Burning PS produces harmless carbon dioxide and water according to studies conducted by research institutes: “the toxic effect of burning PS is equivalent to that of burning of wood.”
Question: Does foam PS transfer its odor or taste to food?
Answer: Foam PS is an inert material, therefore, odor or taste can not be transferred from the packaging material to the food.
Question: Is Polystyrene recyclable?
Answer: YES! Polystyrene is 100% recyclable, and is now being recycled in the Philippines.
Question: Where is the recycling plant located?
Answer: It is located in Barangay Patag, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
Question: What is Polystyrene recycled into?
Answer: It is used in many useful products like rulers and office accessories, hangers, video and audio housings, and many more.