Polystyrene, the polymer of styrene monomer, has been widely used for different purposes from a very old time. Because of the amazing properties it possesses, Polystyrene attained wide acceptance across different industries. The thermal insulation property, moisture resistance, electrical insulation, resistance to microorganisms, etc. makes it ideal for a wide range of usage. Being a thermoplastic, polystyrene could be mold to any shape or size by the application of heat. This light weighing substance is easy to be carried to anywhere. Polystyrene is commonly used in the expanded foam, which is called Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) or Styrofoam. Expanded polystyrene is produced from the solid beads of polystyrene. Being hard, solid plastic, polystyrene is commonly used for food packaging, construction, decoration, horticulture, etc. By combining with other components, polystyrene is also used to make electronic appliances, automobile parts toys, etc.
Expanded polystyrene is an incredibly versatile material. This versatility is the reason behind the use of polystyrene in all major industries. The exemplary properties possessed by polystyrene is well utilized in different ways in various industrial uses. Be it in packaging, construction, electronic appliances, horticulture, or in any other industries, polystyrene served the purpose well.
Polystyrene is commonly used in the packaging of food products. Because of its resistance towards moisture, microbial, and other climatic conditions they are an ideal option for food packaging. Listed below are a few polystyrene packaging solutions used in the food industry.
Vegetable and dates boxes
Vegetable and date boxes are an excellent option for the packaging of perishable and fresh food products. These Expanded polystyrene boxes provide insulation from temperature fluctuations throughout the transit. EPS are proven to be non-toxic and hence are totally safe to use in contact with food. The cushioning and shock-absorbing properties of EPS keeps the food inside stable for a long period of time.
These lightweight boxes are ideal for food that requires to be stored in cold temperatures. Similar to the vegetable boxes, the thermal insulation, and the moisture-resistant packaging helps the food inside the boxes remain undecayed for a long time. The full roof cushioning property of these boxes helps to avoid damages and breakage throughout the transit.
Salient features of polystyrene boxes
Thermal insulation – The high thermal insulation property of polystyrene prevents the food from getting decayed as well as keeps them fresh.
- Moisture resistance – The moisture resistance property of polystyrene helps the packed goods to be stored without damage.
- Weather resistance – Since polystyrene is resistant towards any weather conditions, the food inside will remain fresh irrespective of the weather outside.
- Good Shock absorber – The polystyrene has good shock-absorbing property so that the packages will not be affected by the sudden shocks during transport.
- Microbial resistant – Resistance to microorganisms prevents the food inside from the attack of microbial.
Durability – Polystyrene being a non-degradable plastic are highly durable and can last for many years without destruction.
- Lightweight – Since polystyrene is composed of 98% of air, it is light weighted and can be easily carried anywhere.
High compressive strength – Polystyrene possess high compressive strength so that they can be stacked over and transported easily.
- CFC free – Polystyrene comprises of pentane molecules which is CFC free thus contributing nothing to the ozone layer depletion.
Cost-effectiveness – polystyrene is easily available and hence it is a cost-effective alternative to be used in many industries.
Polystyrene is an extremely resource-efficient polymer. Polystyrene is made from petrochemicals. Though polystyrene is considered to be plastic, it is composed of 2% polystyrene cellular matrix and the remaining 98% is air. Since the major component is air, Polystyrene uses natural resources efficiently rather than utilizing non-renewable resources.
Being a plastic, derived from petrochemical, it is likely to be environmentally unfriendly. But it does not seem to as hazardous as other plastics. Admitting the fact that Expanded polystyrene is non- biodegradable, it does not pollute air or water with contagious gases. At the same time, polystyrene could be easily recycled. Polystyrene recycling plants assures that 100% of the polystyrene scraps can be recycled and reshaped. Similarly, used polystyrene boxes can be reused for many other purposes such as cultivating plants, creative works, etc. Though Polystyrene is a non-degradable plastic, if used efficiently it is a completely eco-friendly product.
The exemplary properties of polystyrene are incomparable with any other plastic-based products. Though polystyrene is used in all other industries, the beginning of the polystyrene era was marked by the packaging of food substances. From then on, polystyrene is considered to be the best option for packaging in the food industry. The safety and security it delivers to the food inside and the environment outside makes polystyrene a perfect product for packaging.