There is a misconception that Expandable PolyStyrene or EPS is not recyclable and that is wrong. EPS recycling is growing stronger every day. EPS is the number “6” recycling plastic and it must be reduced or compacted to make it feasible to ship to a plastics recycler. It has become a coveted raw material for recyclers and they are discovering a wide range of markets for it.
A full trailer load of loosely stacked EPS foam will only weigh approximately 2000 pounds. After the foam is run through a compactor or densifier 40,000 pounds or more can go on that same trailer and now it is cost effective for shipping. A screw compactor can take a 1 pound per cubic foot piece of EPS and reduce the volume to as much as 20 pounds per cubic foot. This compactor or densifier can also process other types of foam.
There needs to be bigger push for all types of recycling, EPS included. It’s plain and simple, recycling still costs more than landfilling in many locations – it’s all about the cost.
So how do we curb the landfilling? Just like we do for alcohol, cigarettes and gambling, we create a sin tax that would increase the cost of landfilling. This tax money is then used for recycling efforts: setting up recycling locations, paying workers and purchasing equipment, like the EPS compactor.
By Kate Tilley
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — An Australian expanded polystyrene recycler can double exports to China and South Korea if its owner can convince more retailers to hand over EPS waste.
Polystyrene Recycling Queensland, a unit of Brisbane-based Global Interests Pty. Ltd., operates five granulators at electrical goods
retail outlets in Queensland and northern New South Wales, which shrink waste EPS volume by 66 percent. The granules are transported to PRQ’s compacting plant, nine miles south of Brisbane’s central business district, where they are compacted into recyclable EPS logs and shipped to Asia.
Leo Sines, PRQ owner and managing director, said PRQ ships a container of EPS logs weighing up to 17 tons each week to Chinese and Korean manufacturers. Those manufacturers process it into various products, including photo frame molds, coat hangers, synthetic timbers, and spoons and cutlery. Read more
By Gayle S. Putrich
WASHINGTON — New York City’s proposed ban on polystyrene foam packaging could cost nearly $100 million annually and hurt businesses across the state, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by research firm MB Public Affairs on behalf of the American Chemistry Council, shows that such a ban could nearly double food service packaging costs — while doing little to actually reduce waste.
“Total costs to replace plastic foam foodservice and drink containers and trays with the lowest-cost alternative are estimated at $91.3 million [per year.] This level translates into an effective minimum average cost increase of 94 percent,” the study says.
“In other words, for every $1.00 now spent on plastic foam foodservice and drink containers, NYC consumers and businesses will have to spend at least $1.94 on the alternative replacements, effectively doubling the cost to businesses.” Read more
The answer depends on several factors and should be considered relative to the level of technology utilized during production as well as that of the landfill in which it ends up. According to a production research study initiated by Franklin Associates (33 year-old life cycle analysis and solid waste management firm), polystyrene’s production can be less harmful to the environment than paper production.
For paper, it takes 33 grams (g) of wood, 4g’s of fuel (oil or gas), and 1.8g of non-recycled chemicals to make a single 10.1g cup. Polystyrene uses 1/6th of all the total production elements of paper cups and only 3% of the chemical ingredients. Read more