Expanded polystyrene building products can be made with recycled content. This is achieved by blending post-industrial EPS that has been passed through a grinder, which reduces the material back into individual bead-sized particles that are then reintroduced into the molding process. Technical considerations generally limit the level of recycled content loading from 10 to 20 percent to maintain the minimum performance standards, as specified in ASTM C578, “Standard Specification for Rigid, Cellular Polystyrene Thermal Insulation.” However, specialized processes can incorporate higher recycled content levels.
Other EPS waste can be reground and mixed with concrete to produce new building products such as prefabricated concrete blocks. Adding EPS regrind increases the thermal performance of these applications in addition to providing an alternative to landfill disposal. Another example of recycled content EPS use can be found in co-mingled plastics products such as decking, lumber and interior trim.
The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) recognizes recycled content insulation in its Recycled Content Product (RCP) Directory. Depending on the manufacturer and application, recycled content levels for various insulation products ranges from 25 to 100 percent.
In 2012, more than 93 million pounds of EPS was recycled, with the majority reprocessed in a closed-loop process. The amount recycled includes 36 million pounds of expanded polystyrene post-consumer packaging and 56 million pounds of post-industrial recovery. Post-consumer recycling is defined as any material that is recycled after its intended end-use as a consumer item – while post-industrial recovery would include EPS facility scrap that is recycled and therefore diverted from the municipal solid waste stream. The average annual post-consumer recycling rate for EPS is 15 percent.
EPS Compactor Contributes to the EPS Recycling Industry
The improvement of EPS recycling rate is said to be a result of the application of EPS compactors. In Canada, it is reported that the recycling rate of EPS packaging increased from 12% in 2009 to about 31% last year. Meanwhile, the recycling rate of food packaging increased to 32%.
According to the CPIA’s vice president, the main contributor to this improvement was the EPS compactor. By reducing the size of EPS waste, the shipping and collecting cost of EPS was greatly reduced and this opened up new opportunities for the EPS industry. In short, EPS recycling rate increased with the help of EPS compactors.
Styrofoam Recycling Events Hosted During Holidays in Kirkland
Styrofoam, also known as EPS (Expanded Polystyrene), is often used as packaging material. In particular, during holidays people give each other gifts and this may bring the problem of Styrofoam recycling. Kirkland decided to host Styrofoam recycling events named “StyoFest” to help solve this problem. During the specific weekends from Nov. 22 this year to Feb. 28, 2014 residents can take their Styrofoam waste to the city Public Works Maintenance Center at 915 Eighth Street. They will accept clean white dry plastic foam (including clean cups and containers) from Friday 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday. However, packaging peanuts will not be accepted during the recycling events. The scheduled dates are as follows:
• Friday, Nov. 22 to Monday, Nov. 25
• Thursday, Dec. 26 to Monday, Dec. 30
• Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 to Monday, Jan. 27, 2014
• Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 to Monday, March 3, 2014
• An extended recycling event will be held after the Christmas holiday.
The recycled Styrofoam waste will be sent to a foam recycling company. The company has a thermal compactor which reduces the size of Styrofoam by crushing, heating process. What’s more, the Styrofoam recycling events are free.
Styrofoam can be recycled in Montreal
from CBC News
Recently, citizens in Montreal get access to Styrofoam recycling including fruit, vegetable and meat trays. According to the pilot project started by the City of Montreal and the plastic industry, citizens can take their Styrofoam or other plastic wastes to the Écocentre in Lasalle where different kinds of plastics are classified and finally transported to a recycling plant.Before this, another pilot project for Styrofoam recycling has been started and based on the success the city decided to start this new project.The Styrofoam was not accepted for recycling before partially because the high transportation cost. However, a new technology which compact Styrofoam can help reduce its volume greatly and thus keeps a lower expense on transport. The Styrofoam recycling company hopes the Styrofoam recycling project can be continued and expanded.
Will Fungi Mushrooms Replace EPS?
Fungi mushrooms are well known as a kind of ingredient which are used to cook various kinds of tasty foods. But nowadays people can make mushrooms into materials for packaging, insulation and fiberboard etc. It is reported that this new kind of fungi-based material is of the similar costs and performance as EPS. However, EPS is not biodegradable and not easy for recycling. Besides the fact that it is made of petrol which is non-renewable and very limited. Compared to EPS, fungi mushrooms are grown instead of manufactured, natural, renewable, and biodegradable and so it is more welcome. The company which develop this technology has bigger ambition. They are expanding this technology into applications like packaging, insulation, and fiberboard etc.
Geofoam is Widely Used
What is Geofoam?
Geofoam is in nature EPS or XPS foam bulks and its common size is 2 m x 0.75 m x 0.75 m. It might be named for the reason that it is used in geographical applications. The first attempt was made in Norway 1972 when engineers used EPS foam as embankments around the Flom Bridge for the purpose to reduce settlements. Several conferences was held since then for engineers to share their ideas and experience.
Applications of Geofoam
In addition to the application of embankments, Geofoam can also be used in the following applications: slope stabilization which helps reduce the mass and gravitational force; retaining structures which reduce the lateral pressure and prevent settlement and improve water proofing; utility protection which reduce the vertical stresses on utilities, protect them from earthquakes and other damages.
Advantages and disdavantages of Geofoam
EPS foam is extremely light in weight with high strength and durability. For these reasons, the using of Geofoam can be beneficial in construction time and costs. It is also good for the environment and its behavior is quite predictable. However, Geofoam is vulnerable to fire, petroleum solvents and buoyancy. Both its advantages and disadvantages should be taken into consideration when EPS/XPS foam Geofoam is used in various applications.