Study of waste generation polystyrene based in Misantla, Veracruz from the circular economy
Keywords:Polystyrene waste, Circular economy, post-consumer unicel, Plastic waste, Recycling
Recently, the excessive generation of plastic waste and its inadequate management have represented a problem worldwide. Petrochemical plastics, which account for 80% of the world's total plastic use, are the main pollutants. With the growth of the population and its needs, the generation of polystyrene waste increases considerably. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) has a very low recycling rate; it is estimated that, of 125 thousand tons generated annually in Mexico, only 0.1% is recycled. The objective of this project is to obtain a preliminary diagnosis on the generation of EPS waste in the city of Misantla, Ver., which allows its post-consumer use as recycled raw material, under a circular economy approach. The methodological proposal for the development of this research was defined in the following steps: (1) characterization of the participating actors, from the Circular Economy approach; (2) identification of businesses that generate polystyrene as waste; (3) determination of the type of polystyrene generated; (4) estimation of the quantities of waste generated; (5) analysis in comparison with the generation of other types of waste; (6) generation of post-consumer use strategies. According to the 2019 Economic Census, in Misantla the economic sector with the largest number of economic units in the municipality is retail, where it is located, the sale of food in small establishments or street stores, these agents being identified as the main generators of polystyrene waste. A survey was applied to 96 companies, mainly in the food sector. The results of these surveys show that these establishments mainly use disposable products made of expanded polystyrene such as plates and cups, and that, in some cases, the use of disposable polystyrene products such as containers and spoons was identified. With the information collected, it is concluded that the use of disposable products generates approximately 765 kilograms of EPS waste. Unlike plastic waste, misinformation about the recycling of EPS, the lack of strategies for its collection and post-consumer use, as well as the lack of awareness for its recycling, give way to it ending up in final disposal sites, continuing with the trend framed in different investigations that maintain that its final destination is incineration. After the diagnosis, there is a concrete vision of the generation of polystyrene waste and future work is given in the generation and implementation of strategies that allow the use of post-consumer unicel for its return to the value chain.
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