Polystyrene is a synthetic polymer made from styrene monomer, which is a liquid petrochemical. It is a thermoplastic polymer which softens when heated and can be converted via semi-finished products, such as films and sheets, into a wide range of final articles.


Polystyrene can be rigid or foamed.
General purpose polystyrene is clear, hard and brittle. Polystyrene is naturally transparent, but can be coloured with colorants.
High Impact Polystyrene: Polystyrene containing a polybutadiene rubber impact modifier is opaque or translucent rather than transparent. This is often used blended with General Purpose polystyrene or on its own in a wide range of household applications and in food packaging.


Polystyrene is used in a wide range of applications, including:

  • Packaging.

  • Household appliances.

  • Consumer electronics products.

  • Building and construction, for example insulation foam, panels, bath and shower units, lighting and plumbing fixtures.

  • Medical items such as tissue culture trays, test tubes, petri dishes, diagnostic components, and housing for test kits.

For more information, see following publications