Expanded polystyrene is one of the polymers produced in large quantities due to its versatile application in different fields. This polymer is one of the most intractable components in municipal solid waste. Disposal of polymeric material by pyrolysis or catalytic cracking yields valuable hydrocarbon fuels or monomers. Literature reports different types of reactors and arrangements that have uniform temperatures during pyrolysis and catalytic cracking. The present study focuses on reducing the temperature to maximize the quantity of styrene monomer in the liquid product. A bench scale reactor has been developed to recover the styrene monomer and other valuable chemicals. Experiments were carried under partial oxidation and vacuum conditions in the temperature range of 300-500 °C. In the pyrolysis optimization studies, the best atmospheric condition was determined to be vacuum, the pyrolysis temperature should be 500 °C, yield of liquid product obtained was 91.7% and yield of styrene obtained was 85.5%. In the characterization studies, distillation and IR spectroscopy experiments were carried out. The remaining of the liquid product comprises of benzene, ethyl benzene, and styrene dimers and trimers. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.