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Our effort against marine pollution

Oct 22 2020

EUMEPS acknowledges the urgency to address maritime pollution and protect marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Our members take responsibilities towards the environment very seriously. We are happy to share a number of interesting initiatives and practices adopted in different countries that highlight the widespread efforts towards sustainability and waste reduction embarked upon by the European manufacturers of expanded polystyrene (EPS).

Greece

Our Greek member, EPS Hellas, is supporting an initiativeled by the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conversation, a Greek non-profit and non-governmental organisation, that has put in place an experimental net for the cleaning of surface waters from plastic waste. This net is a very practical way of collecting fragments of plastic from surface waters and can cover a large area without trapping marine organisms. This can also be utilised for emergency clean ups but also in coastal areas and semi-enclosed bays where accumulation of plastic waste is more prominent. The first results from this experiment are very encouraging.

Italy

The Italian National Consortium for the Collection and Recycling of Plastic (COREPLA) launched an environmental project for the management of marine litter, focusing on preventing plastic from making its way to Italy’s rivers and marine areas. This initiative, in cooperation with the Ministry for the Environment, aims to collect floating waste which will be delivered to fifteen ports and treated accordingly. Information collected throughout the initiative will enable more accurate measurements of the quantities of waste at sea and help in developing the appropriate measures in adopting a more integrated approach for the traceability of marine and terrestrial sources of waste. Marine litter has increasingly become a talking point both locally and internationally, and this initiative aims to relieve the pressures being put on marine ecosystems. Our Italian member (AIPE - Associazione Italiana Polistirene Espanso) has a strong partnership with COREPLA since 2003 to collect and recover EPS on the national territory.

The Netherlands

Our member IsoBouw in the Netherlands has fully embraced the concepts of circularity and circular construction adopting the 10R circularity model in its operation. This entails making and using smarter products, extending the lifespan of products and using residual materials efficiently instead of turning it into waste. The Netherlands Institute for Building Biology and Ecology (NIBE) has independently tested nearly IsoBouw’s entire product range and has scientifically proven that when compared other insulation alternatives, EPS has the lowest impact on the environment. This was also confirmed by an excellent score from the National Environmental Database (NMD). BEWiSynbra, which is IsoBouw’s mother company, also has circularity close to its heart and has recently set up a separate business unit specifically responsible for circular insulation, BEWiSynbra Circular. The objectives of this unit are the collection and recycling of EPS material in Europe, and has set for itself the medium term recycling target of 60,000 tons of EPS.

Portugal

BEWiSynbra Circular Portugal, in collaboration with Doca Pesca, have launched a pilot project that aims to collect EPS fish boxes from almost all fishing ports across Portugal. The initiative has installed retention cages in ports so that fish boxes can be deposited in one accessible place, allowing for easier collection while preventing any waste from ending up in the sea. Once the waste is collected, the application of the respective treatments will be easier to carry out, as well as enabling a reduction in transportation and logistical issues and costs. So far, reactions to this initiative have been positive and EPS waste in ports and markets has been reduced to significantly low levels.

Denmark

The Danish EPS industry is taking strong steps towards reducing waste from production and preventing any waste from reaching the environment. All EPS producers, which are members of the association, will have to become members of the environmental program named Operation Clean Sweep. The Danish EPS industry is made up of the majority of the EPS-producing companies in Denmark, with a total membership of 13 companies. The industry emphasises that EPS production does not involve high levels of emissions, however it remains committed to prevent as much as possible throughout the course of production. The industry’s priorities also include increasing EPS recycling rates, that is supplemented by a reduction of waste from the production process. Membership in Operation Clean Sweep will be strongly encouraged to all EPS producers, including non-members of the Danish EPS industry, with the goal of having all producers share in their responsibilities towards a better environment.

For further information please contact:

Carlo Marzorati, EUMEPS Power Parts Section Secretary c.marzorati@eumeps.org