The Media Centre provides up to date information about EPSA activities and EPS industry news. Here you can find press releases, the latest EPSA newsletter, articles about EPS in the news and also access downloadable EPS related information from around the globe.
Department clarifies Government’s National Plastics Plan position
In a significant win for the sector, the Department has moved to clarify the Government’s position regarding the National Plastics Plan by producing this fact sheet on EPS.
We will continue to keep our members updated on developments as we receive them.
Classing conflation hurting industry
MEDIA RELEASE – 23 JUNE 2020
With an estimated 30 per cent downturn in the Victorian Expanded Polystyrene Sector in part caused by confusion over combustible cladding, manufacturers have written to all Victorian MPs to clear the damaging confusion.
Expanded Poly Styrene Australia Executive Director Becher Townshend said failure to clearly distinguish between which type of cladding product was used when commenting on cladding materials continues to have further negative impacts for the industry.
“Because all insulated cladding systems in recent times have been routinely lumped together by ill-informed sources without distinguishing between the different products and their uses, the Expanded Polystyrene industry has suffered a 30 per cent downturn,” Mr Townshend said.
“To avoid more unnecessary hurt for the Expanded Polystyrene sector in Victoria, it is critical that when discussing cladding systems that a distinction is made between products that are legal and safe to use and those that are unsafe.
“Basically there are two types of cladding systems: Aluminium Composite Panels which have a filling of polyethylene and which have been implicated in the Grenfell Tower and Lacrosse fires; and, Expanded Polystyrene Cladding systems.
“Under the National Construction Code Expanded Polystyrene can still be used in Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, however due to the confusion surrounding the two products – which are often lumped together as “combustible cladding” our industry has suffered a significant downturn.”
“In Victoria there are 50 small and medium sized Expanded Polystyrene business, which generate around $250 million annually and employ approximately 1000 people.
“The sector has suffered a 30 per cent downturn in business due to the view that all cladding is now deemed to be unsafe when it is not if used according to building regulations and standards.”
Expanded Polystyrene cladding safe for housing
MEDIA RELEASE – 4 MAY 2020
The use of expanded polystyrene as a cladding material for domestic housing up to two storeys is legal and safe under the National Construction Code.
Recent media and commentary over the use of cladding on the Summardai Apartments reveals a regulatory failure, not a product failure.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) cladding is allowed to be used in the construction and cladding of what are classified as Class One buildings which are defined as domestic dwellings of up to two storeys.
The Summardai Apartments do not fall into this category and regulators should never have allowed the cladding material to be used on these buildings.
Further, the state of the cladding as revealed in the TV news reports indicates that it was badly installed in the first place.
Flame retardant and professionally installed EPS is an ideal building material offering affordable and effective insulation in domestic housing.
Any anger about the use of EPS should be directed at regulators who have failed in their duty, not at the product itself which is legal and safe to use in Class One buildings.
Secret Government report shows problems with building approvals
MEDIA RELEASE – 3 APRIL 2020
Expanded Polystyrene Australia (EPSA), which represents the manufacturers of a range of building products says a secret report revealed in the Age this week* highlights significant problems in the Government’s building approval process.
What the report confirms is that it is not product per se that is the problem, rather lax regulatory processes.
This has resulted in buildings being clad in materials when they should not have been. The response of regulators has been to effectively lump all foam cladding products into a similar category – they are all bad.
The fact is that Expanded Polystyrene Cladding is quite safe and legal to use in domestic housing up to two stories, but the vilification of cladding has seen the industry suffer up to a 30 per cent decline.
EPSA Executive Director, Becher Townshend said some cladding products had been unfairly blamed when the real culprit was questionable Government processes.
“The fact is, the building products EPSA members make are cost-effective, environmentally friendly and safer than timber when used properly,” Mr Townshend said.
“This report clearly shows that many of the problems identified on a number of buildings relate to building approval processes and general building defects, and not necessarily the products used to build them.
“In the wake of the terrible Glenfell tragedy and the Lacrosse building fire in Melbourne, all cladding products were lumped in the same category and scape-goated by Governments to shift the blame.
“In reality, when used properly, the cladding products that EPSA’s members make are as safe as houses.
“It’s time the Government admitted that the real problem is the incredibly lax process of approving new buildings, which this report highlights.”
2019 EPSA Annual General Meeting
The 2019 EPSA AGM is being held on Wednesday 30 October, 2019 at the Oaks on Collins Hotel, Melbourne from 9am till 4pm, with an Industry Dinner being held that evening. For more information, and to register please email the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Friday October 11.
25th Annual AMEPS Conference
The Asian Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene will hold their 25th Annual Conference in Kiev, Ukraine from Wednesday 6 November until Friday 8 November, 2019.
The Conference brings together leading Asian and European EPS players for three days of discussion about opportunities, innovation, research & development and challenges in the EPS sector globally.
Attended by government and industry representatives from more than 27 countries, it will be a unique opportunity to network with all the relevant players in the global EPS industry.
For more information and to register, please visit the AMEPS website here.
EPSA is the peak body for manufacturers of expanded polystyrene (EPS) in Australia.
Our sympathies go out to those impacted by the devastating building fire in the United Kingdom.
There have been some media reports suggesting polyurethane, polystyrene and even polyester was used in connection with this tragic event. This is not the case.
The manufacturer of the cladding used on the Grenfell Tower, Arconic has confirmed the product used was Reynobond PE and they have withdrawn this product from sale.
The companies’ statement with regard to the withdrawal from sale of Reynobond PE can be found here: https://www.arconic.com/global/en/news/news_detail.asp?pageID=20170626000415en&newsYear=2017
Details about Reynobond PE can be found here: https://www.arconic.com/aap/north_america/en/product.asp?cat_id=915&prod_id=1534
In simple terms, Reynobond PE contains a polyethylene core between two aluminium sheets, which has limited fire retardant qualities.
The polyethylene referred to in the reports bears no relationship to the EPS product manufactured by EPSA members.
Further, EPSA requires members to use flame retardant material in all expanded EPS products manufactured for the building industry.
Media Statement EPSA’s response to The Good Guys issue:
Subject: Staff evacuated from The Good Guys, Ipswich, Queensland, having been overcome by fumes.
Reported: October 22nd 2016.
Assumption: The Fire Brigade incorrectly assumed that the fumes were emitted from expanded polystyrene packaging.
Outcome: The source of the fumes was found to be a burnt-out motor on the air conditioning system.
Statement: Properly cured expanded polystyrene is totally inert.
Emergency services were called to The Good Guys store at Ipswich, Queensland, when staff complained of being overcome by fumes.
Two people were hospitalised. The Scientific Unit attended to trace the cause of the problem. The QFE representative reported they had narrowed the cause down to “…polystyrene gassing off.”
This was a misinformed comment.
Upon checking later with The Good Guys management, we were advised it had nothing to do with the polystyrene packaging which had been part of their storage process for nine years.
The cause was traced to a burnt-out motor in their air conditioning system.
The smoke from the motor had filtered through their storage area affecting staff and product in said area.
Properly cured expanded polystyrene is totally inert.
For all media enquiries please contact:
Expanded Polystyrene Australia
P: 03 6281 2320