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Nov 19, 2005, 09:09 AM
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SKY KING's Avatar

Can Foam Planes be recycled?

Title says it all - I would imagine they can't - Remember the shock of receiving a McDonalds sandwich in cardboard?
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Nov 19, 2005, 10:47 AM
Sussex, UK
RobinBennett's Avatar
The foam is polystrene or polypropelene, which are fairly standard plastics - it all depends what recycling facilities you have locally. Around here we can only recycle polyethene. I've no idea what the difference is - I never was much good at chemistry!

OTOH, I wouldn't worry, far more foam is wasted as packaging or construction off-cuts.
Nov 19, 2005, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SKY KING
Remember the shock of receiving a McDonalds sandwich in cardboard?
What shock ?, you mean the shock that it wasn't in a foam container anymore, or the shock of the sudden realisation that the sandwich tasted just like it's new container (mushy cardboard) ?.

P.S. Coffee cups can be recycled into model rockets .........
Nov 19, 2005, 07:45 PM
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SKY KING's Avatar
I do rather like re-hydrated onions.

That last photo looks like a group of surly unaccredited technical school students...
Nov 19, 2005, 08:50 PM
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TLyttle's Avatar
In Canada, there is no recylers that handle foam packing, we checked. How can it be so difficult???

If anyone finds a way, they are guaranteed good income for life as far as I can tell. I tried compressing it: a 12-ton jack reduces it by 50% or so, not enough. I know little about chemistry either, so I haven't tried controlled heating yet, I'm afraid of the gases that may be liberated if the temp gets too high. Chipping it up and using it for garden filler, but the mess would be awesome...

C'm,on guys, are we innovators or not???;-)
Nov 20, 2005, 04:20 AM
Sussex, UK
RobinBennett's Avatar
Canada has plenty of land, so they are just storing the foam in land fill sites until someone works out how to recycle it. In 100 years time when the oil has run out we'll probably be mining the land fill sites to get at all the valuable plastic ;-)
Nov 20, 2005, 02:59 PM
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Kyri's Avatar
Foam planes can be recycled from a technical point of view. Most plastics used are thermoplastic and can be heated, reshaped and cooled - so whatever shape they are in they can be made back into pellets or powder. For the process description, see here:

The problem is that foam is light and mixed with lots of other things (eg cardboard labels or coffe cup surrounds, tea bags, all sorts of unwanted stuff) and that makes it more difficult to recycle. That, combined with the high transportation costs due to the light weight of the foam, make it a logistical nightmare. It is not cost effective to do it although environmental pressure is pushing things that way.

Consider that of all the plastic waste (PE, PP, PS, and foamed versions of these) it is easier and cheaper to collect and recycle the non-foamed versions because the value of the resultant pellets is higher.

As the oil resources get tighter more plastics will be recycled and more oil fields will be revisited to extract oil that currently, is not cost-effective to extract (there are sources that are easier/cheaper to get to)


Nov 27, 2005, 03:04 AM
Watts your motivation
roccobro's Avatar
Don't they use little styro beads in some mulches and fertilizers? Makes you feel better when you "plant" your foaming at the park. Or not.

Nov 27, 2005, 03:14 PM
Suspended Account
Originally Posted by roccobro
Don't they use little styro beads in some mulches and fertilizers? Makes you feel better when you "plant" your foaming at the park. Or not.

Actually those are beads of ammonium nitrate I think. Usta Bee's group looks like a gathering of the Melungen defense league..............HAHAHAHAHA that a rocket in your hand or are you just happy to see me?.....

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