Recycling of EPS

Recycling of EPS

EPS is 100% recyclable.

Benefits of EPS recycling

EPS recycling can be done in a number of ways.

  • Ground down and used to produce new EPS
  • Mixed with soil as a composting aid
  • Used as a lightweight aggregate for concrete and insulating mortars
  • Melted in an extruder and used in other plastic processing industries

Waste EPS is used as follows:

  • In feedstock recycling where it is used as a chemical source to produce other materials such as crude carbon in steel manufacture
  • Broken down and mixed with refuse to be burnt as fuel or to fill landfills where it promotes aeration and breaks down the organic matter.
  • Expanded polystyrene packaging can be and is being recycled throughout Europe and in many other parts of the world.

For any recyclable product, the resource equations must balance. Hence, care must be taken to ensure that the energy used to recycle EPS packaging balances the energy gained or saved from the material.

The Isowall Group has been manufacturing and distributing Isolite Block Moulded EPS since 1985. Isolite Block Moulded EPS products are used primarily for insulation. EPS blocks are cut on order using a variety of machines and delivered to customers with a fleet of Group owned delivery vehicles.

Waste management options for EPS

Like most packaging materials, there are several waste management options for EPS and this can be broadly categorized into the 4 R’s, namely:

Reduce: Reduction in the use of natural resources. This is done by using packaging design and technology in such a way that minimum quantities of EPS are used, reducing the cost and burden on the environment. The used packaging can continue to be used in various ways.

Re-use: Multi-trip use of EPS foam or re-use in a different or modified form. It can be used in the transportation of semi-assembled material, re-used by grinding it and integrated into the soil as soil conditioner, helping in aeration and drainage. EPS is made into seed and pot holding trays for use in gardening.

Recycle: The reprocessing of used EPS packaging resulting in new or existing uses without energy recovery. Uses include hardwood replacement for garden furniture, in roofing material and recycled plastic items like CD covers.

Recover: Retrieval of inherent calorific value through incineration with heat/energy recovery. EPS’ calorific value is higher than that of coal. It can therefore be burnt in energy recovery units without toxic emissions.

Landfill: Least acceptable because it represents a missed opportunity to recover valuable resources. If this is unavoidable, EPS being non-toxic, odour-free and non-biodegradable does no ecological harm. It does not add to ground water spillage or atmosphere emissions.

Isowall recycles roughly 10 tons of EPS scrap per month: this is used to make Isowood Skirting Boards and Dado Rails. Isowood represents an initiative by the Group to reuse and recycle in order to foster a sustainable future. The scrap from the manufacturing of EPS, and returned polystyrene, is used to make Isowood Skirting Boards and Dado Rails. Isowood products have a wood like appearance and pose as a viable alternative to hardwood.

We also make a 100% regrind Decking Block with dimensions 900mm x 560mm x 180mm.


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