Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is 100% recyclable. During 2018/19 over 5,800 tonnes of EPS was recycled throughout Australia.
As EPS does not degrade or deteriorate throughout its life means that it is ideal for recovery and recycling from almost all applications.
EPS is not only a highly effective insulation material, but it is also an environmentally friendly option. EPS is recyclable at many stages of its life cycle, making it a sustainable choice for construction projects. During the production process, all manufacturing waste can be reprocessed back into the production mix for the manufacture of new EPS products. EPS offcuts from building applications can also be recovered and recycled during the construction process. EPS’s ability to maintain its properties throughout its life cycle means that it is ideal for recovery and recycling from almost all applications, making it a sustainable and cost-effective insulation solution.
How is EPS Recycled?
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) scrap must be segregated from other materials in the waste stream before it can be recycled. While technologies are still developing to recycle contaminated waste, it is imperative that all scrap is inspected to ensure that it is clean and clean from contaminants like cement, render, labels, glue and organic material.
There are many different ways in which EPS scrap and waste is collected for recycling in Australia. Recycling services extend beyond transfer stations and councils. For example all EPSA members strictly adhere to the POD Stewardship Practice, where offcuts and unused EPS is bagged for collection by manufacturers and taken back to be recycled into new product. There is also the new EPSA initiative, StyroCycle, which is geared to service local households who need to dispose of their clean expanded polystyrene packaging.
The collected EPS is fed into a granulation machine. The granulated material is then compressed and pelletised. These pellets become the feedstock for new products.
In Australia, the majority of waste collected by EPSA member manufacturers is transformed into insulation materials such as waffle pods or extruded polystyrene boards for under slab and perimeter slab insulation. This circular production serves the environment and the Australian economy.