Thermocol is the expanded form of Polystyrene which is a plastic very commonly used in its hard form as well as expanded into a foam which is generically known as Thermocol. Polystyrene beads are pumped with Pentane gas (amongst other chemicals) to expand to 50 times their size in order to form this soft but strong foam called Polystyrene foam. This material finds wide usage in the packaging industry, model and craft industry as well as in the construction and insulation industry. A very useful material for sure but it comes with its set of hazards.
Waste collection and disposal is a system that is like most other businesses, based on economics. Hence it is not wrong to say that waste reaching or not reaching landfills depends simply, on money. If there has been a value attributed to a certain waste material, then a rag picker knows that when they collect a certain quantity of that material, they will get paid for it.
The reason Thermocol is not being collected today is because of the lack of financials associated with the material. There could be many reasons for this. While some materials are simple to handle, others are quite complex.
Today, Thermocol waste is generated largely in retail and in industries. At a household level, one gets Thermocol in the packaging of white goods bought and the quantum of Thermocol is not that much. Often, it is collected alongside the garbage by the garbage collectors and since it does not have a value, it gets dumped into the municipal corporation truck which takes it straight to the landfills. When in the landfills, Thermocol being high in volume, takes up a lot of space. It is highly flammable and on burning releases carcinogenic fumes. Thermocol is extremely light and floats on water resulting in it also becoming a choking hazard for river and sea creatures.
However, like most other problems that have a solution, this one does too. The Thermocol is recyclable though it is not biodegradable. It can be melted and transformed into another form – High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) through a process. At RECYCLING HUB we ensure that 100% of the Thermocol are recycled in the most proper way.