Polystyrene and Polyester Insulation
Polystyrene usually comes in white boards and is often used in conjunction with concrete structural insulating panels (SIPs). While polystyrene is a synthetic material we do commend that there are companies that only use it as it is recycled and avoiding landfills of toxic material. We do not support the use of newly created polystyrene- it takes 500 years and sometimes more to decompose or ends up being digested by wildlife (4).
Many of our clothes are made out of polyester and keep us warm in winter. Similar to polystyrene polyester is made out of synthetic fibres. In insulation, many of the offered products are recycled polyester. This again is a good idea in avoiding landfills of a toxic product that takes far too long to degrade and does only so doing damage to its environment. We should promote and help companies that are working hard to keep polystyrene or polyester out of our landfills.
Advantages of polystyrene and polyester insulation:
- Polystyrene and Polyester are recyclable (only carbonated polystyrene is not recyclable)
- Both insulation materials can be manufactured out of recycled base material; keeping our landfills plastic-free
- Both insulation materials can be put into place without the need of protective gear (except blow in insulation)
- Polyester insulation is anti-allergenic
Disadvantages of polyester and polystyrene insulation:
- If virgin material is used then it is not environmentally friendly or sustainable
- The recycling process is not environmentally friendly as the plastic needs to be melted down and toxic fumes are then released where some chemicals where added
- Polystyrene cannot be currently recycled in New Zealand and is shipped overseas for recycling, further increasing its environmental impact
- Both materials do not help to regulate the moisture level in your home
( Image: Recycled Plastic )