EPS is 100% recyclable
EPS can be easily mechanically recycled, allowing you to prepare for the next task. How? Enabled by recycling, the individual beads are attached to new EPS granulate and continue to go from strength to strength in new applications. In addition to mechanical recycling, EPS can also be converted once again by simple melting processes in its original packaging material.
The recycled plastic is obtained and then produced to produce new plastics. If need be, EPS packaging can also be used in modern thermal heat and power plants to produce district heating. During this thermal recycling process, 1 kg of EPS® replaces 1.4 liters of fuel oil.
Did you know that EPS can be recycled in an efficient mechanical process to manufacture a long list of secondary products from packaging to construction and other products?
Expanded Polystyrene can be recycled in an efficient mechanical process to manufacture a long list of secondary products from packaging to construction and other products. The process starts when EPS is collected directly from its many commercial users or households.
Separated or sorted EPS waste can be compacted efficiently, depending on the desired feedstock for recycling. In many cases, specialist, fuel-efficient trucks known as high-volume vehicles, are used for its transport. Any contaminated material, like some including a now-banned flame retardant is sorted out before the process continues.
Then, EPS molds are fed into a pre-shredder where they are cut first into palm-sized pieces, then later subjected to further grinding and setting processes. The resulting material, called “shred” can be used as an additive for the plaster and mortar industry, in seat cushions, or as a pore-forming agent in brick manufacturing, extending the life cycle of the EPS for decades.
Many countries have a large industry of small and medium-sized companies specializing in recycling EPS.
While mechanical recycling can turn end-of-life EPS to “shred” or PS regranulate that can be used in a wide range of industrial applications, chemical recycling can transform polystyrene into the equivalent of virgin materials to produce good-as-new recycled EPS.
A chemical recycling process known as pyrolysis can convert EPS in mixed plastic waste into pyrolysis oil, which can be fed into the production of basic chemicals instead of fossil feedstock. EPS that results from this chemical recycling process is indistinguishable from EPS made from virgin raw materials.
Various recycling options, combined with the fact that EPS packaging generally consists of a single polymer, make EPS one of the most recyclable plastic packaging materials available.