Is thermocol biodegradable?

This blog post will answer the question, “Is thermocol biodegradable” and cover topics like the biodegradability of thermocol and frequently asked questions related to the topic.

Is thermocol biodegradable?

No, thermocol is not biodegradable. Thermocol is composed of polystyrene, a polymeric molecule derived from petroleum. Thermocol is not biodegradable since polystyrene itself is not biodegradable.

Does Thermocol Decompose?

Thermocol does not decompose. Thermocol is an excellent material for preserving sensitive goods. It is portable and simple to clean. This makes it a very common method of transporting things.

You may have just acquired a large or delicate object for your house. You have so much thermocol that you do not know what to do with it. You could first consider placing your thermocol into your compost. However, let us emphasize that this is a bad idea.

Thermocol is neither biodegradable nor decomposable. Therefore, if you placed it on your compost pile, it would remain there for decades. Why does thermocol not degrade? 

Here are some explanations:

  • Thermocol is composed of polystyrene, a polymeric molecule derived from petroleum. Thermocol is produced from polystyrene beads that have been enlarged. Thermocol is not biodegradable since polystyrene itself is not biodegradable. These are man-made substances.
  • Thermocol must be burnt at high temperatures in a regulated setting. Only under very severe circumstances can the material be broken down rapidly. Moisture and oxygen are also essential for its decomposition.
  • It takes decades for Thermocol to totally degrade in natural conditions. Scientists believe that its decomposition might take hundreds of years.

Is Thermocol environmentally hazardous?

Thermocol is used for packing and shipping big and even little delicate items. Tea and coffee disposable beverages are often supplied in thermocol cups. 

Even food such as meat and fish may be transported in it and kept fresh during hot weather. Because thermocol is so frequently used, you may be curious about its environmental effect.

Therefore, let’s begin by stating that thermocol is not environmentally friendly. Here are a few justifications.

  • Thermocol is not degradable by living organisms. It takes decades or perhaps centuries to decompose naturally. Thus, it is a significant contributor to pollution.
  • The thermocol decomposition process can only be accelerated in a controlled atmosphere. This setting requires very high temperatures. It must also have the proper amounts of oxygen & moisture. This is a costly procedure that wastes a great deal of energy and materials.
  • Destruction of thermocol involves combustion. While burning, thermocol emits hazardous gases into the environment. It is recognized that certain gases contribute to the development of specific malignancies. Carbon monoxide & styrene vapors are two of the gases emitted during combustion. It goes without saying that everyone in such a setting is in danger.

Is Thermocol a Plastic Material?

Yes, thermocol is plastic. Plastic is now accessible in several forms. Occasionally, we contact with plastic without even realizing it. Nevertheless, depending on its density and general texture, thermocol may be mistaken for a form of plastic.

You would be correct if that was your first assumption. Thermocol is a sort of plastic, although it is a lightweight material.

You may be more acquainted with the word “polystyrene,” a kind of plastic used in a variety of applications. Thermocol and these materials are identical; both are derived from petroleum, like other plastics.

It also needs a lengthy disintegration time, ranging from 20 years to a millennium. Almost every recycling site accepts plastic, but thermocol is not one of them. The significant distinction is that plastic objects may be recycled easily.

This is due to another fundamental difference between these two materials: plastic has a substantial amount of weight, while thermocol is extremely light. It has been created to have a more delicate texture, making it more suitable for cushioning and safeguarding sensitive things.

Is Thermocol recyclable?

Yes, thermocol is recyclable.

Okay, we’ve established that thermocol is not biodegradable, therefore putting it on your compost pile is a huge no. However, what about recycling? Can thermocol be recycled?

Thermocol is recyclable in its entirety. Because thermocol is plastic, and all plastics are recyclable, this is the case. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind while recycling thermocol. Here is a rundown of them.

  • Thermocol often requires specialized recycling. Thermocol may contaminate other recyclable materials during the recycling process. It requires a space devoted only to the recycling of thermocol. Thus, it may be handled appropriately. This implies the material will be heated to particular temperatures in order to minimize environmental damage.
  • When recycling thermocol, you must consider what your local authorities have to say about the substance. Some counties will enable you to recycle thermocol with plastic garbage. However, the majority would prefer that you bring the item to a thermocol recycling facility. This is particularly true if you own huge quantities. This allows your county to simultaneously clean and recycles massive volumes of waste.

How to dispose of Thermocol?

Despite the fast pace at which advancements are advancing, thermocol has few trustworthy alternatives. As such, it remains the material of choice for the majority of producers today.

If you have recently received a delivery containing thermocol padding, you will need to dispose of it. But wait! Before you explore alternative eco-friendly strategies, you might give the following tips a try:

  • Rag Balls
  • Ornamental Pumpkins
  • Snowballs 
  • Pomander Flower Balls

I will now elaborate on these.

Rag Balls

To build a rag ball from thermocol scraps, you must first cut out balls. You may do this by using a serrated knife to carve a circle from a huge block. Then, using a butter knife and sandpaper, smooth the completed result.

You may wrap your rag balls in a variety of vibrant or solid-colored textiles. These colorful arrangements are appropriate for any room in the house and may be given as gifts.

Ornamental Pumpkins

Most of the time, the crafts you may make from unused thermocol will need you to carve them yourself, such as colorful pumpkins. 

Obviously, this material is solid, but it has the appropriate amount of weight to remain in place and create an attractive pair of pumpkins.


Snowballs may be used as ornaments year-round, not only during the Christmas season. Thermocol balls that have been discarded may be sculpted into snowballs of exceptional beauty. 

The nicest aspect of this hack is that it can be performed at home when bored. Utilize your carving knife to fashion some artistic snowballs.

Pomander Flower Balls

These flower balls are inventive homemade ornaments that may be used anyplace. For this hack, you just need some thermocol foams, scrapbook paper, & lovely one-inch pins with stoppers.

Thermocol: Is it biodegradable?

Thermocol is not biodegradable. 

Given the quantity of thermocol we use on a daily basis, the ecologically aware among us are likely to question whether bacteria and other natural forces may degrade this substance. Decomposition is, after all, one of nature’s most efficient strategies for cleaning up after humans.

Before we respond to this question, we feel you will want to know what biodegradable and nonbiodegradable materials are. Once a substance can be decomposed by microbes, water, air, and hot or low temperatures, it is biodegradable and poses no threat to the environment.

Alternatively, if this substance takes several years to decompose, it is not biodegradable. These materials are more likely to harm the environment, particularly since they decompose slowly.

They may leak chemicals into the environment, leave behind dangerous particles, and wreak havoc on the regions they encounter. During decomposition, more conspicuous are the hazardous gases that pervade the surroundings.

One of these materials is plastic, which is one of the greatest environmental hazards. Thermocol is a very lightweight plastic material. However, it has the same consequences on the ecosystem, and composting might have undesirable outcomes.

Similar to other plastics, thermocol may take anything from two decades to 10 centuries to degrade. Composting it will not only be ineffective, but you risk contaminating the rest of your compost pile.

Composting is not a safe way to dispose of thermocol waste, thus it is preferable to find another approach.

Why Thermocol Is Considered a non-biodegradable Substance?

Thermocol is considered non-biodegradable since it cannot degrade under normal conditions. Naturally occurring substances and microbes are incapable of decomposing this substance.

The length of time it takes for thermocol to break down is an additional reason why it is not biodegradable. Scientists do not yet know how long thermocol would take to totally disintegrate. 

However, most estimates range between decades to centuries. This substance has a substantial carbon footprint and is a significant polluter.

Thermocol is likewise considered non-biodegradable since it can only decompose rapidly under extremely precise conditions. This habitat has very high temperatures. 

In order to decompose thermocol, it must be burnt. Its combustion harms the environment by releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere. These gases pose a threat to us all and our ecology.

In addition to being non-biodegradable, Thermocol accumulates. Due to the length of time required for decomposition, a large quantity of thermocol waste accumulates in a short period of time.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “Is thermocol biodegradable?”

Why isn’t thermocol eco-friendly?

As a non-biodegradable material, Thermocol has become one of the leading sources of environmental contamination. The combustion of thermocol releases carcinogenic gases. Using them is also detrimental to one’s health.

Is thermocol recyclable?

Yes, thermocol is recyclable, however, it should not be placed in the recycling bin. If you are looking for a means to dispose of unwanted thermocol, you should not throw it in your residential recycling bin. 

Instead, you should locate the closest thermocol recycling center and drop off the material there.

How long does it take for thermocol to decompose?

Close to 500 years

According to one estimate, Styrofoam may occupy up to 30 percent of the area in some landfills. Once deposited in a landfill, the waste decomposes slowly. 

Some estimates place the lifetime of Styrofoam in a landfill at around 500 years, while others place it far further out.

Why is thermocol used?

The monomer styrene results in the creation of polystyrene, also known as thermocol, which is a synthetic polymer. It is used as a thermal insulator. It is used to protect things such as televisions, laptops, and glassware.

Is plastic biodegradable?

Plastics are not biodegradable by nature.

This is another fallacy that must be dispelled. Numerous polymers do not biodegrade spontaneously. Many plastics can only be biodegraded in industrial facilities due to the conditions necessary for their biodegradation.

Is foam sustainable?

Styrofoam is not a sustainable material. It is derived from petroleum, cannot be recycled effectively, is not biodegradable, and produces pollutants when burnt. 

However, a new plant-based foam supposedly has none of these disadvantages, and it purportedly insulates better than traditional Styrofoam.


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