When styrofoam edit do not forget that it is a plastic


The focus of the processing of polystyrene should be the health and environmental factor. Since Styrofoam can only be precisely and precisely processed with heated tools, toxic fumes are produced. The polystyrene is a plastic that is not allowed to enter the food cycle. Styrofoam can at least be handled carefully.

Old Styrofoam not workable

Styrofoam is popular for its versatility, low price, good insulation and light weight. However, the foamed polystyrene is a plastic that is non-toxic when closed and, when processed on several levels, becomes harmful and toxic. Therefore, during processing always limit to the most necessary measure.

Until 2014, polystyrene insulation materials in particular were treated with the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). HBCD has been banned since 2014 and Styrofoam declared as hazardous waste. It causes, among other genetic damage. In my own interest, old styrofoam should no longer be processed. The processing and introduction in garden earth as a water depot and for earth loosening is not a good idea for any Styrofoam.

Drilling, smoothing, cutting and separating

To cut the Styrofoam for the assembly, to cut corners or to create curves, several cutting tools are suitable:

  • With hot wire
  • With a (heated) knife
  • With a (heated) cutter or utility knife

Styrofoam can not be bent specifically. Rounding can only be created with cuts.

Drilling in polystyrene corresponds to a stinging with heated tools. This produces the same vapors as when hot cutting.

Styrofoam can not be smoothed by sanding.

Chemical dissolution can lead to the criminal offense

In order to crush styrofoam in the usual quantities of households, some useful tools are available. The proposed in some forums chemical dissolution by acetone, gasoline or the like should be strictly avoided. Apart from the difficulty of recycling the residues, highly toxic mixtures of materials can arise.

Tips & Tricks

Always work outdoors and with respiratory protection when melting polystyrene. Do not use warm heat on old styrofoam containing HBCD. Only mince the Styrofoam mechanically.

Product Image: Taechit Tanantornanutra / Shutterstock


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