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Polystyrene: where it goes

Polystyrene: where it goes


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Polystyrene, we are used to seeing him embrace household appliances and everyday items I consume them when we buy them, sometimes under vegetables and meat or other similar foods, but what is it made of? IS how much it pollutes? These are questions that, taken from hunger or from the new TV to discard and turn on, perhaps we have never really asked ourselves. And now!

Polystyrene and separate collection

The polystyrene can be thrown into the rubbish bin that we use to collect plastic bottles and packaging, since, when it is the basis for food product packaging, it is associated with plastics, but it is necessary wash it and clean it of all food residues. If, in particular packages, we find polystyrene covered or assembled with aluminum sheets, before place it in the recycling bin, the two materials must be separated.

When we find the polystyrene used to pack products, furniture or large appliances, for example, we can always dispose of it together with the plastic but in case of doubts about particular packaging, in order not to compromise the separate collection of the entire building, we can check how to behave directly on the Corepla website which is the reference for the disposal of plastic products or packaging.

Polystyrene: what it is

Technically it is called polystyrene, in Switzerland also sagex, but only in his expanded form, and is the polymer of styrene, a thermoplastic aromatic polymer from linear structure which at room temperature is a glassy solid but if it starts to get hotter it acquires plasticity and is able to flow.

We may also find ourselves dealing with its expanded form, a very light white foam, often in the form of balls or chips, for fill packaging and isolate delicate products which must not be subjected to blows or shocks. From the chemical point of view, it is a material inert with respect to many corrosive agents, dissolves in chloroform, trichlorethylene, acetone and some aromatic solvents such as benzene and toluene.

Polystyrene: where it goes in Rome

In Rome today the packaging polystyrene must be thrown into the containers of blue color which are reserved for packaging in plastic and metal. They are the same in which Roman citizens should throw plastic bottles, jars and jars, plastic bags and bags, disposable plastic plates and cups, beverage cans, aluminum trays and foil, metal cans for food, caps plastic and metal, spray cans, shells.

Polystyrene: where it is thrown in Milan

In Milan the color of the sack, here it is yellow, but the concept is not. The polystyrene must be thrown into the "plastic and metal" section together with bottles, flasks and plastic bags, food trays, metal food tins and jars, beverage cans.

Polystyrene: where it is thrown in Naples

Polystyrene in Naples can be thrown, it must be thrown into containers used to differentiate plastics and metals. There are street bells, bins in the neighborhoods where separate collection is done door to door, and bags.

Expanded Sintered Polystyrene (EPS)

Now that we have seen how to recycle polystyrene we can deepen its characteristics by noting that we often hear about yes polystyrene and its different types. The main ones are sintered and extruded, the first is indicated with the initials EPS, the second with XPS.

Let's start with the sintered, used mainly for the production of packaging. Being a thermal insulator, we also find it in the building field, as a material for the insulation of buildings and for the creation of insulating sandwich panels. External insulation can also be achieved with EPS which is obtained by immersing polystyrene granules in water and adding a quantity of pentane from 2% to 8% to the water.

When everything is compressed, the pentane diffuses into the granules that are stored for a few months before undergoing the expansion that occurs in a chamber with a movable wall into which water vapor is blown at about 120-130 ° C. In this way there is a softening and swelling of the plastic to obtain some polystyrene foam beads. When the movable wall of the chamber moves, there is a press effect that leads to the formation of a monoblock of EPS pellets to be then cut at will before being sold.

Extruded expanded polystyrene (XPS)

Compared to EPS, extruded polystyrene is able to bear heavier weights. In construction we therefore find it used in particular situations, for example under flooring and even under the foundations of buildings. This type of polystyrene is obtained by entering gpolystyrene ranuli in a screw extruder without end where they merge. By blowing in pressurized gas, the melt comes out in the desired shape through a die placed at the head of the extruder. The foaming of the gas is generally related to the pressure difference.

Let's briefly add to these two types, a third: that of shockproof polystyrene (HIPS), made up of polystyrene and styrene-butadiene rubber, combined to obtain a less brittle plastic than generic polystyrene.

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You may also be interested in:

  • Separate collection of polystyrene
  • Expanded polystyrene and thermal coat
  • How to recycle polystyrene


Video: Why Polystyrene is Terrible (May 2022).