Number 6 Plastics
Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases and in the foamed or expanded form as packaging, EPS or expanded polystyrene
Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs and the number of recycling centers that are accepting the foamed version, (EPS) is continuing to grow.
Recycled into: Insulation, light switch plates, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers, chair rails and crown moldings and picture frames
Polystyrene can be made into rigid products (PS-polystyrene), or foam products (EPS-expandable polystyrene)- in the latter case it is often incorrectly referred to as Styrofoam. (See "What is Styrofoam") blog entry. While many places still don't accept it, it is gradually gaining traction as more and more people are becoming aware that it is indeed a valuable recyclable material, and easy to do so with the right equipment. Just look for the symbol show above on the product to determine if it is PS, EPS, or a different category of plastic all together.
This information is reprinted in part with permission and is ©1986-2010 by IDES
I want to let everyone know that we are exhibiting again this year at the Plastics Recycling Conference 2010 which will be held in Austin TX. The conference will take place on March 2nd and 3rd. The conference will include a tradeshow. We will have booth #304 and would love to have you stop in. The conference sponsors expect a great turnout again this year. There were a record number of exhibitors this year and all spaces have sold out. This primary focus of this conference is recycling, not solid waste management. This is one of the best conferences in North America to meet people interested in recycling plastics of all types.
Plastic Recycling Markets
Latest Processing Technology
Biopolymers and Recycling
We would like to meet anyone interested in discussing recycling of EPS and Styrofoam plastics as well as PE, Ethafoam, EPE and EPP foams. We are also interested in meeting anyone interested in purchasing these materials in a compressed or densified form.
You can get more information on the conference at Plastics Recycling Conference 2010
Many of us use the term Styrofoam as a reference to most plastic foam packaging. We include foam drinking cups, packaging peanuts and the white material that our appliances, toys and so many other items are packaged in. In fact, most of this is not Styrofoam. Styrofoam is a registered trademark of Dow Chemical for an extruded polystyrene foam material sometimes referred to as XPS. This material is always made in a sheet form and is generally the color blue. The primary use for Styrofoam is for building insulation although you may find it used in Geofoam applications or in block form in the hobby store. As Dow states on their website, "You can't drink coffee from a STYROFOAM cup. (There's no such thing.)"
The typical foam coffee cup and the most common white colored packaging foam is expandable polystyrene foam or EPS for short. This material is related to Styrofoam in chemical makeup but it is produced and formed in a different process. It is generally recycled separately from DOW Styrofoam or other XPS material. EPS can usually be identified by looking for the circular pattern on the surface created by the individual beads that are used to make the molded shape.
EPS is one of the best cushioning materials for protecting products during shipping. While the claims that it is not biodegradable are true, the claims that it is not recyclable are totally false. EPS foam packaging can be extruded back into solid PS pellets. These can be used to produce many new items in PS plastic including coat hangers, CD cases and picture frames.