Do you think that styrofoam cup is harmless enough? Think again – here’s what polystyrene really does to the environment and our health, and how we’re working to change that.
Use once, last forever
As a petroleum-based plastic, polystyrene is found in many places like takeaway cups, containers, meat trays, and packaging boxes. While highly versatile and lightweight, the long term environmental damage and risks to our health far outweigh any benefits.
Polystyrene is made from unsustainable petroleum, which creates large amounts of waste. The production process also creates significant air pollution.
Studies estimate that it takes 500 to millions of years to degrade! But unlike other non-biodegradable plastics, there are few options to sustainably recycle polystyrene, which creates a massive waste issue.
Manufacturing polystyrene leads to increased occupational health risks and possible carcinogenic threats. The ocean pollution threatens our wildlife and sea animals, which leads to food contamination and health risks for us.
What we’re doing about it
We’ve got a long way to go in tackling this global issue, but the good news is that we’re making a start with a local solution.
Our team recycles hard polystyrene found in industrial packaging on site at the Balcatta Recycling Shop. We break down and compact these into large blocks and pack them into bulk bags weighing 340kg each. The recycled material is then reused and replaces the need to produce new plastic.
This means we’re diverting waste from landfill, avoiding manufacturing costs, and reducing environmental pollution all in one go!
Recycling at the BRS is free and open to all members of the public, not only in the City of Stirling. Please note we accept clean, white polystyrene without any adhesives, labels, or paint.
We also recycle other plastics and materials, so check out our full list here.