Foam Equipment's Blog

What Do Recycling Symbols on Plastics Mean? (Part 1)

Posted by Doug Malawey

Sep 27, 2019 1:09:00 PM

Number 6 Plastics

recycling symbol #6PS (polystyrene)

If you're an avid recycler, you're probably quite familiar with plastic symbols and meanings. So there's no doubt that you know what number 6 plastics are.  Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers and cutlery, aspirin bottles and packing peanuts are all made with number 6 plastic, which is also known as Polystyrene and in some cases, Styrofoam. 

Polystyrene is used in the creation of a wide variety of consumer goods and is made by polymerizing, styrene. It can be found in appliances, car parts, televisions, foodservice packaging and thermal insulation products. 

Polystyrene can be used to create rigid products, or foam products when it's expanded. In the latter case, it is often incorrectly referred to as Styrofoam. As those in the industry know, the expanded form is actually known as Expanded Polystyrene or EPS. While Polystyrene is fairly popular these days, Expanded Polystyrene has a reputation for being very hard to recycle mainly because of its low density. But it is possible to recycle symbol 6 Styrofoam.

How Number 6 Plastics Like EPS Are Recycled

Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs and the number of  recycling centers that are accepting EPS is continuing to grow. Some communities have drop-off sites for EPS recycling. Many of these sites are listed on the EPS Industry Alliance website. If there aren't any local drop-off locations, an EPS mail-back program exists. You can learn more about its requirements on the EPS Industry Alliance website. Those dealing with large volumes of EPS regularly can work with a recycling company that specializes in EPS or they can invest in a Heger foam recycling compacting system from Foam Equipment & Consulting Co. to save time and money spent on transport and disposal.

Foam Equipment & Consulting: A Proud Supplier of Heger Foam Recycling Equipment

Foam Equipment & Consulting Co. is well-versed in Heger foam recycling equipment and the needs of today's recycling operations. The EPS recycling process requires energy-efficient and durable technologies to provide great value. That's why we offer customizable equipment that can handle your organization's specific objectives. If you have any questions about our solutions or need help with deciding what machinery is right for your business, contact us today

Topics: Recycling codes, types of plastic, recycling numbers, recycling symbols