For any environmentalist, polystyrene, or Styrofoam, conjures up a sustainability nightmare. It’s ubiquitous in the food service industry, but is often not accepted for recycling.
However, the product has its uses — especially in construction. Using polystyrene instead of backfill — like dirt or gravel — provides the stability needed for construction. As a lightweight material, it doesn’t increase the load on a structure, either. And, the fact that it doesn’t decompose or shift can create the kind of long-term stability a large building like Aztec Student Union needs.
For example, Aztec Student Union incorporated polystyrene into this so-called “dead zone” behind the future Aztec Lanes, and in the area between the San Diego Trolley Station and the project. It keeps things stable and safe, while keeping a weight-bearing load off of below structures, like the underground trolley station.