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Learn about EPS

Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about EPS and read the frequently asked questions below.

General FAQ’s about EPS

What is expanded polystyrene (EPS) and how is it made?

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) is a lightweight and versatile material primarily composed of 98% air and 2% polystyrene, a type of thermoplastic polymer. The manufacturing process involves expanding small polystyrene beads by injecting them with steam, causing them to puff up and create the characteristic cellular structure that gives EPS its exceptional insulating and cushioning properties. This high air content within the EPS material contributes to its lightweight nature and makes it an effective choice for various applications, from packaging to construction.

How does the expanded polystyrene (EPS) manufacturing process affect the environment?

The EPS manufacturing process exhibits a commendable commitment to environmental sustainability. Through efficient utilization of resources like water and raw materials, including 2% polystyrene from fossil sources or recycled EPS, EPS production minimizes waste and optimizes resource consumption. 

A notable aspect is the condensation and reuse of steam consumed during manufacturing, exemplifying a closed-loop system that reduces water usage. Innovations in manufacturing, such as quick-cooling moulding cavities and water recycling, further decrease energy consumption and environmental impact. 

Furthermore, the production process generates zero residual solid waste. EPS products are meticulously tailored for specific applications, and any excess pieces are seamlessly reintegrated into the manufacturing cycle, eliminating waste. This holistic approach reflects manufacturers’ efforts to promote the recyclable nature of EPS, facilitating recycling initiatives for both businesses and consumers.

What makes expanded polystyrene a sustainable product?

EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) is a sustainable material due to its resource-efficient production, 100% recyclability, closed-loop manufacturing, energy efficiency, and minimal environmental impact. Comprising of 98% air, EPS products are lightweight and contribute to reduced carbon emissions during transportation. Its durability, insulation properties, and adaptability further enhance its sustainability, while recycling initiatives and innovations in manufacturing showcase its commitment to environmental responsibility and the circular economy.

Can you recycle expanded polystyrene (EPS)?

EPS stands as a remarkable example of sustainability, being 100% recyclable and capable of continuous transformation into valuable resources, such as building products for thermally efficient homes, and consumer products such as coat hangers, skirting boards and picture frames. Despite misconceptions labelling it as challenging to recycle, EPS is in fact very easy to recycle and can be repeatedly recycled. The true obstacle lies in the absence of efficient collection and sorting. Initiatives like StyroCycle are now addressing this concern by stepping in to bridge the gap. 

By offering a free drop-off service for the community, StyroCycle exemplifies a pivotal shift towards turning waste into a valuable resource. This proactive approach not only showcases the potential of EPS as a reusable material but also emphasizes the significance of investing in accessible and efficient recycling solutions for a more environmentally conscious future.

Why is EPS favoured as a packaging material?

EPS has emerged as a favoured packaging material for a multitude of reasons. It’s lightweight, thermally insulating and high impact protection for fragile and precision products  ensure safe transportation, while minimizing shipping costs and environmental impact. Beyond its functional attributes, EPS’s recyclability is a key factor that sets it apart. With the ability to be 100% recycled and repurposed, EPS aligns seamlessly with the principles of a circular economy. 

When coupled with effective product stewardship practices, such as StyroCycle, EPS becomes a sustainable choice that significantly reduces waste and promotes the continuous reuse of valuable resources. This dual emphasis on functionality and environmental responsibility underscores why EPS is increasingly embraced as a packaging material of choice, offering both practical benefits and a positive contribution to a more sustainable future.

FAQ’s about Waffle Pods

Why are EPS waffle pods cost-effective and eco-friendly?

EPS waffle pods offer a cost-effective solution for construction projects due to their innovative design and efficient use of materials. By using EPS waffle pods, builders can reduce the amount of concrete needed for the project, leading to cost savings and a decrease in CO2 emissions. Concrete production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so using EPS waffle pods helps mitigate the environmental impact associated with traditional concrete slabs.

Furthermore, EPS waffle pods are eco-friendly building components known for their sustainable qualities. Waffle pods are constructed using recycled content, contributing to reduced resource consumption. Their eco-conscious design ensures they are fully recyclable at the end of their life cycle. Any offcuts generated during construction can be recycled through the EPSA Pod Code of Conduct initiative.

Why are EPS waffle pod raft slabs so popular in Australia?

EPS waffle pods are the preferred building solution for concrete slab construction in Australia for a number of reasons: 

  • Cost Saving: EPS waffle raft slabs are favoured in Australia due to their cost-saving benefits. The lightweight EPS pods reduce concrete usage, leading to lower material and labour expenses during construction.
  • Australian Soil Conditions: EPS waffle raft slabs are well-suited for Australia’s geographically diverse landscape and soil types, making them a practical choice for residential construction across the country.They distribute building loads evenly, minimizing structural damage risks caused by soil movement.
  • Thermal Efficiency for 7-Star Ratings: EPS waffle pods contribute to achieving high energy ratings, like the coveted 7-star energy rating in Australia. The air pockets within the pods provide insulation, regulating indoor temperatures and aligning with energy-efficient construction practices.
  • Affordable Housing: The affordability of EPS waffle raft slabs addresses Australia’s housing affordability crisis. By lowering construction costs, these slabs play a role in making housing more attainable for a broader segment of the population.
  • Adaptability to Varied Landscape: EPS waffle raft slabs are well-suited for Australia’s geographically diverse landscape and soil types, making them a practical choice for residential construction across the country.

Are EPS raft slabs stronger than traditional slabs?

Yes, EPS waffle pod slabs are engineered to be stronger than traditional concrete slabs, as detailed in the Australian Standard 2870. The unique design of the pods provides enhanced load-bearing capabilities, making them a durable and reliable choice for various construction applications.

Why do you emphasize product stewardship and education for builders?

Product stewardship is a key aspect of responsible business practices. We are committed to promoting the proper use and disposal of EPS waffle pods to minimize their environmental impact through the EPSA Pod Code of Conduct (link to page). By educating builders about the benefits and correct installation methods of EPS waffle pods, we ensure that they are used efficiently and contribute to sustainable building practices.

A builder who diligently maintains a litter-free construction site demonstrates a deep understanding of the following:

  1. Waste Disposal: By supporting initiatives like the EPSA Pod Code of Conduct, the commitment to keep the construction site free of scrap material reflects a builder’s dedication to preserving local ecosystems and reducing visual pollution caused by construction waste.
  2. Material Handling: Handling materials with care, such as employing tools like hot wire cutters and demonstrating meticulous attention to expanded polystyrene (EPS), showcases a builder’s commitment to environmental responsibility and safeguards against potential environmental contamination.

Do EPS waffle pods require special handling or machinery?

EPS waffle pods are designed to be easy to handle and do not require specialized machinery for installation. Their lightweight and modular structure enable efficient transportation, handling, and placement on construction sites, reducing labour and virtually eliminating excavation costs.

What is the R value of EPS waffle pod slabs?

The R value of EPS waffle pod slabs has a system R value of approximately R1.0, resulting in energy savings in buildings constructed using EPS waffle pods.

With the upcoming requirement for 7-star energy ratings across Australia, the energy efficiency ratings of an EPS waffle pod slab, takes centre stage. They excel in insulating and regulating temperature, leading to significant energy savings by reducing heating and cooling costs.

Are EPS waffle pods environmentally friendly?

EPS waffle pods are environmentally friendly for several reasons. They are 100% recyclable and made with up to 50% recycled material, contributing to reduced demand for virgin resources. Additionally, EPS waffle pods offset the use of traditional concrete, which is a significant CO2 emitter. Choosing these pods over conventional concrete slabs helps reduce the overall carbon footprint of construction projects.

Where does the recycled material for EPS waffle pods come from?

Several distinct circular scrap collection streams contribute to the composition of waffle pods that contain recycled material: 

  • The StyroCycle initiative engages the community in the collection of clean EPS packaging.
  • Unused EPS and offcuts from waffle pods are meticulously gathered from construction sites in strict adherence to the EPSA Pod Code of Conduct.
  • Scrap and offcuts generated during the manufacturing process are thoughtfully reintegrated into product production.
  • Strategic commercial recycling partnerships extend to sectors such as Retail, Pharmaceutical, Seafood, Meal Delivery, and Wholesale fruit and vegetable industries, ensuring the retrieval of packaging materials for subsequent incorporation into the manufacturing cycle.

Do waffle pods comply with the Australian Building Standards?

Construction of waffle pods comply with AS2870 – The Australian Standard for Residential Slabs and Footings. The AS 2870 standard outlines the approach to establish site classification and specifies design and construction criteria for various foundation types, including ground slabs, stiffened rafts, waffle slabs, strip footings, pad footings, and piled footings.

What are the key advantages of EPS waffle pods?

EPS waffle pods offer a comprehensive array of advantages in modern construction. Notably, their superior thermal efficiency contributes to energy savings by regulating indoor temperature effectively. These pods provide exceptional structural strength, reducing cracking and offering stability even on reactive soil. Their lightweight design ensures ease of handling and installation, minimizing labour requirements and streamlining construction processes. With an environmentally friendly approach, EPS waffle pods incorporate recycled materials, curbing demand for virgin resources and offsetting CO2 emissions from traditional concrete. Their adaptability to diverse architectural designs and layouts, along with accuracy in installation, further enhance their appeal. 

For a comprehensive list of the benefits of EPS waffle pods, see our blog article here (link to blog article).