EPS is threating marine lives
A study shows that plastic is the second largest component of beach debris. And about 80% of marine debris comes from land. It’s estimated that EPS makes up 60 to 80 percent of marine litter, it can be found everywhere in the marine. EPS can exit for a very long time. As time pass by, EPS tends to degrade into tiny parts, fishes and seabirds may take it as food and eat it by mistake. But they are not able to digest the EPS, their digestive systems will be blocked which kills them in the end. Recycling EPS can help reduce the amount that winds up in the sea and help save more marine lives.
Over the past 20 years, the establishment of local recycling programs, in conjunction with recycling initiatives from large companies that regularly deal with EPS, such as Wal-Mart, have proven that creative and collaborative solutions produce positive results.
According to AFPR, EPS recycling consistently maintains one of the highest recycling rates among all of the plastics families. Including rigid, durable polystyrene, and other grade materials, EPS post-consumer and post-commercial recycling represents 50% of all post-use polystyrene recycled in the U.S. This is a significant achievement when considering that prior to 1988, the alliance says, EPS recycling was virtually nonexistent. Read more
1. The very low void weight of EPS-waste with a density of approximately 6.5 kg/m³ creates an extremely high transportation cost and special Jumbo-trucks with high loading volumes of 110m³ can only carry weights of 600 to 700 kg PS.
2. The present utilization of EPS offers only a very low degree of value recovery:
o The major part of the EPS-waste is incinerated.
o Most of the collected EPS waste is grinded and used in cement flooring and tiles. Only approximately 1000 tons are truly recycled (blended) into packaging parts.
o In Germany only small volumes of EPS are processed to PS-granulates for injection moulding.
3. The EPS for the construction industry contains flame retardants. Based on an expected yield loss of 7% when adjusting insulation sheets approximately 7,000 tons EPS waste per year are created in Germany alone. This waste has to be collected separately and treated in special
processes, because the brominated additives can react to toxic degradation products – like dioxane and furane (Seveso poisons) – when undergoing thermal processes such as extrusion or compression.
Used in thousands of different ways by individuals and businesses around the world, expanded polystyrene (EPS) is relied upon to provide superior performance in various foam product applications. Whether used as protective packaging for fragile items during shipment, as custom insulation in building applications or even as a bicycle helmet, EPS is serving an important role in our everyday lives.
- EPS meets five of the criteria for sustainable packaging based on the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s definitions.
- The 2010 EPS Recycling Rate Report shows that over 71 million pounds of EPS were recycled, including 37.1 million pounds of post-consumer packaging and 34.2 million pounds of post-industrial packaging.
- In 2010, more than 50% of all EPS collected for recycling was used to make recycled-content packaging.
- EPS is made of 98% air and is an inert material without harmful chemicals that off-gas or leach during its use of disposal.
- EPS represents less than 1% of the total municipal solid waste stream by weight and volume.
- Available in a variety of custom-molded shapes, EPS containers are water resistant and hygienic with high thermal-insulating properties. Which is what makes it a common choice for shipping food throughout the world.
To sustainably transport EPS for recycling it must be compacted or condensed. There are two options available in South Africa namely the Ingot Machine or the Greenbacks. The Polystyrene Packaging Council has set up a list of collection points and buyers for the material and assists in the facilitating of this process. Ensuring that the EPS reaches the recycling industry where various products, such as picture frames, coat hangers, seedling trays, skirtings are made.
- EPS can be recycled up to 20 times without any damage to its physical properties.
- In recycling programs we reduce the volume of EPS 200 times making it a viable and sustainable product to recycle.
- To make up an A4 size certificate frame in a moulding 30 mm wide, it would take approximately 45 meat trays or 41 hamburger clamshells or 18 half litre yogurt cups.
Just after the launch of the EPS Sustainability Toolkit, Walmart implemented a closed-loop EPS recycling plan. They piloted the program in a Las Vegas distribution center, then expanded it to Texas within a few months. The collected material is being used to create recycled picture frames, which will in turn be sold exclusively in U.S. Walmart stores. In
addition, Walmart has expressed interest in distributing the EPS Packaging Insert to its suppliers that use EPS. These actions show huge potential with Walmart.