Polystyrene (PS) is a thermoplastic polymer and is available in several forms: general purpose (crystal), medium impact, high impact and expandable (see separate report for EPS). It is used in a variety of consumer and commercial products with major applications in domestic appliances, construction, electronics, toys and food packaging. Included in food packaging are food and dairy containers, closures, lids, produce baskets, vending cups and fast food containers. Durable goods, including housewares and furniture, are also made of polystyrene.
Packaging is the largest consumer of PS, accounting for 31% of demand globally but up to 50% in the US including one-time use applications. Fast growing segments in the US packaging sector include drinkware, fast food containers, and trays and containers for delicatessen counters. The next largest consumer in the US at 16% is electrical and electronic applications, followed by construction, building products and furniture at 13%. Consumer products, including recreational equipment and toys, account for 10% of demand and medical products around 6%.
Polystyrene powder can cause irritation by inhalation and skin contact.
To find out more Polystyrene Methodology January 2013