Recycling Polystyrene Acetone Essay

Question: Can we recycle polystyrene in a cost efficient way? If so, what impact does this have on the environment? Purpose: The purpose of this experiment is to see if we can recycle polystyrene using acetone. If this is possible, this can be used to help improve our environment since polystyrene itself is not biodegradable. Hypothesis: Thypothesis that polystyrene, mainly known as styrofoam, can be recycled using acetone. This cost efficient and easy method will not only motivate both individuals and industries to recycle but also improve the state of our environment.

Materials: 100% acetone nail polish remover 3 small containers 4 Styrofoam cups Large piece of plastic Packing foam board A teaspoon A Permanent marker Procedure: Cut 4 of the styrofoam cups into a square of 3 by 3 cm. Label the pieces from 1-4. Cut 4 pieces of plastic into a square of 3 by 3 cm. Label the pieces from 1-4. Cut 4 pieces of styrofoam board into a rectangle of 1. 5 by 2. 5 by 1 cm. Label the pieces from 1-4. Pour 2 teaspoons of acetone into each of the three small containers. Place styrofoam cup piece number 1 into the first small container. Record your observations after five minutes.

Repeat step 5 for plastic piece number 1 and styrofoam board piece number 1. Empty the three containers. Make sure they are dry. Pour 4 teaspoons of acetone into each of the 3 small containers. Place styrofoam cup piece number 2 into the first small container. Record your observations after five minutes. Repeat step 8 for plastic piece number 2 and styrofoam board piece number 2. Empty the three containers. Make sure they are dry. Pour 6 teaspoons of acetone into each of the 3 small containers. Place styrofoam cup piece number 3 into the first small container. Record your observations after five minutes.

Repeat step 11 for plastic piece number 3 and styrofoam board piece number 3. Empty the three containers. Make sure they are dry. Pour 8 teaspoons of acetone into each of the 3 small containers. Place styrofoam cup piece number 4 into the first small container. Record your observations after five minutes. Repeat step 14 for plastic piece number 4 and styrofoam board piece number 4. Observation: Trial 1: S1: Most of the styrofoam cup piece dissolved. P1: None of the plastic dissolved. Only colour of permanent marker faded. B1: Most of the styrofoam board piece dissolved. Trial 2: S2: Most of the styrofoam cup piece dissolved.

P2: None of the plastic dissolved. Only colour of permanent marker faded. B2: Most of the styrofoam board piece dissolved. Trial 3: 53: Most of the styrofoam cup piece dissolved. Dissolved around 4 seconds quicker than previous two. P3: None of the plastic dissolved. Only colour of permanent marker faded. B3: Most of the styrofoam board piece dissolved. Dissolved around 2 seconds quicker than previous two. Trial 4: S4: Most of the styrofoam cup piece dissolved. Dissolved around 6 seconds quicker than previous three. P4: None of the plastic dissolved. Only colour of permanent marker faded. B4: Most of the styrofoam board piece dissolved.

Dissolved around 5 seconds quicker than previous three. Also, dissolved much more of the styrofoam. Why should we care? It is a fact that styrofoam is both cheap and easy to work with. However, due to those very reasons, many people use styrofoam in today’s word without a second thought. According to the Environmental Action Association, most of the polystyrene that ends up in landfills will still be there 500 years from now. Since styrofoam is labeled No. 6, meaning it can not be recycled alongside our normal recycling, it often accumulates. This has huge negative impacts on the environment, both land and sea.

This in turn has a negative impact on the lives of human beings as well. So, if not solely for the environment’s sake, but your own as well, you should care about this issue. Longer implications: , u etone, we make it so that it is recycled using a low cost budget. If more people, mainly business and industries, begin adapting to this method, it would reduce many harms which come with not recycling styrofoam. One of the main harms includes the land the piled up styrofoam occupies. It is estimated that 25-30% of landfills are solely dedicated to plastics, including styrofoam.

This Means that lmost 1/4th of all our landfills are being filled with styrofoam or other plastics. This number can be reduced greatly if the findings of this experiment were to be taken up by others. Another harm that is presented by the lack of recycling of styrofoam is polystyrene takes at least five hundred years to decompose. This means that all that 25-30% of styrofoam which occupies the landfills will remain their for at least 5 centuries. This is not only a waste of space for a very long time but also a burden for the future generations. Aside from the impacts on humans styrofoam is also known for causing choking and starvation of wildlife.

Due to our lack of attention and care, innocent animals have to suffer, once again. We not only chock them to death but also pollute their water sources. Since styrofoam floats in water, due to being lightweight, it contaminates many water source (mainly in United States), affect the lives of not only humans but animals as well. Seeing as their are so many problems which arise from the neglect to recycle or dispose of styrofoam properly, it is nothing but beneficial for our environment and us if we begin to recycle using a cheap method such as acetone.

Why don’t people recycle styrofoam? There are a number of factors to why people do not recycle styrofoam. The first of which is that many communities do not accept recycling of styrofoam. Due to this, people actually do not have the ability to recycle it, even if they themselves wish to. As for why the communities do not allow this recycling is due to the exact reasons why it’s used so often; it is light weight, low cost, and durable – making it hard to recycle. Another important factor is the cost required to actually recycle styrofoam.

It costs a lot to transport styrofoam to the factor and then again to melt it and transform into other products. This part of the problem mainly comes from the companies and industries rather than the individual citizens. Since their goal is to make as much profit as possible, they are not willing to put in extra money to recycle styrofoam. Simple put, it goes more to recycle styrofoam then to create it. Conclusion: The results of this experiment proved that we can recycle polystyrene, or styrofoam, using a cheap method.

The method, in this experiment, was using acetone to dissolve the styrofoam, therefore eliminating the problems that come from not recycling it. Due to the decrease in problems presented by the styrofoam there is a positive impact on the environment. Some sources of error in this experiment include; human error, size of the pieces (the board was not cut to same size as others), and time. Overall, if we are able to begin recycling polystyrene using acetone, we can improve our environment for both humans and animals alike.