Recycling of Polystyrene in advanced level with a sustainable closed-loop system

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Imagine yourself picking up a leftover strawberry cake and derive the flour from its bread that too in a clean and pure form? You can now use this same flour to prepare a new cake, lemon bars, pasta, and bread. You’ll be able to continue this process over and again by using the same flour to meet your baking wants. You have a renewable economy of flour now! Right now, innovative engineers are working on technologies that are akin to the scenario mentioned above. This technique is known as advanced recycling. An advanced level recycling process can work to depolymerize several polymer chains. The polymer chains are depolymerized by defragmenting them into the chemical building blocks. Then to recover the main material, the process of separation is performed. This efficient and precise process is successful in recovering monomers. The monomers are the blocks of chemical building plastic. Besides, this process is carried out with precision compared to an original raw material included in the flour scenario. It can be surprising that polystyrene is one of the most-suited plastics that are meant for advanced recycling. Although polystyrene is used for numerous single-use and durable applications, in some cases, it is called a “challenging polymer” when it comes to recyclability. However, referring to the Styrofoam Recycling process, we like to think of this idea as “misunderstood.” Instead, the simple polymer chain structure of polystyrene and its low ceiling temperature can enable higher recovery rates. The process of advanced recycling uses low energy.


Consequently, for the new innovative technology, polystyrene is known as a well-suited recycling target. The product that has been recovered from the process of advanced recycling is known as styrene monomer. This styrene monomer product isn’t confined to new polystyrene’s life either. The raw material styrene monomer can be used in numerous special styrene polymers. It is commonly used in durable applications like electronics, household, and automotive. Using this similar process (advanced recycling), a usual foam coffee cup can be upcycled into a few parts used in the truck and as a part of the computers. 


The ongoing advancements in polystyrene recycling in the UAE are seen as the seeds of a budding polystyrene circular economy. After demonstrating that advanced recycling can deliver polystyrene products of good quality on a large commercial scale, the demand for polystyrene waste and recycled polystyrene will only continue to expand. The firms expertized in Recycling polystyrene in UAE imagines a not-so-distant period where a stop at your favorite coffee shop will yield a drink in a foam cup that keeps the liquid inside cold or hot for hours on the go! Also, your hands will be kept cold. Moreover, after consuming the beverage, both the lid and the cup will be disposed of inside a recycling bin. These do not go through a separation process. Now, these items will be processed to manufacture a new one. And the valuable styrenic components will be recycled to help society keep moving forward, that too sustainably! 


Organizations and municipalities worldwide are being challenged with a growing issue related to the recycling and disposal of EPS foam products and packaging. Encapsulate poly-styrene of EPS package is a very popular material used for packaging. This material is used to packaging electric appliances, furniture, food items, and electronic goods due to its best protective and excellent characteristics. EPS foam is used to manufacture useful products like cutlery, cases, cartons, trays, disposable cups, etc. However, due to its bulky and large nature, polystyrene can consume half of the space inside rubbish can, in turn, fills the bins too quickly. Thus, the bins have to be cleaned more often.


In comparison to its volume, polystyrene is extremely lightweight and occupies the majority of the landfill space. It is blown away more often while causing a nuisance within the surrounding areas. While a few companies have their recycling policies, polystyrene can find its way inside landfill sites worldwide. The polystyrene products take up a part of the landfill space because these are lightweight, while as per an estimate, the EPS foam products amount to less than one percent against the weight of the landfill components. Additionally, it is highly non-biodegradable, and it can take thousands and hundreds of years to go through a decomposition process. Even if these were thrown away in the landfills, they are carried by the wind due to their lightweight. Eventually, it can end up littering the streets and polluting the water bodies such as rivers, lakes, etc. 


The technology for EPSrecycling has been in existence for a long time. The recyclers can be seen to manufacture goods from recycled and used polystyrene for years. However, even amidst the recyclers, the major reason waste polystyrene recycling is not common is the high expense incurred while carrying the waste. The cost incurred during this process is very high due to its volume to weight ratio. A truck filled with EPS foam consists of very little polystyrene, as its 95 to 98% content is air. This cost can be minimized significantly by cutting down the volume of EPS waste. Before transporting this waste to a specific recycling facility, its production can be reduced from its source of origin.

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