Expanding Foams Offer Impressive Green Credentials

For too long our materials have had a bad reputation due to a lack of understanding which has led to myths being presented as fact.

These claims are largely based around sustainability, fuelled by the upsetting site of seeing EPS dumped by the roadside, in parks or floating in the sea.

Have you ever questioned the sustainable credentials of EPS and other expanded foams? If so, then you are not the first.

Mythbusters

The Facts about EPS:

100% recyclable

expanded polystyrene (EPS) and expanded polypropylene (EPP) are not single use and landfill can be avoided. Recycled material can be made into new EPS/EPP parts or into a wide variety of products such as hangers, CD cases, rulers and even wood substitute alternatives for benches and fencing.

Unlimited recycling potential

unlike materials such as corrugated cardboard whose fibres damage with every recycle process.

Resource efficient

expanded foam is extremely resource efficient, using air and water in the moulding process the finished parts consist of just 2% material. The balance? A huge 98% air! Not many products can claim that they benefit from such resource efficiency.

Saves energy

expanded foam is used in the automotive industry to make cars lightweight and contribute to fuel efficiency and also within the construction and HVAC markets to improve energy efficiency.

What we do

Our Company and the Environment

Engineered Foam Products manufacturing sites are certified to ISO14001 helping to develop management systems that enhance the businesses environmental performance. We are passionate about making operational efficiency improvements, currently all sites are now working hard to achieve ISO 50001 for Energy Management by the end of 2021.

Expanded Polypropylene offers a measurable and substantial environmental benefit. Independent life cycle assessments (LCA) quantify the benefit from the use of EPP as twelve times greater than its impact. The main driver of this is based upon the fact that EPP bring significant weight reduction and thus reducing energy requirements and fuel consumption.

The Criteria

What Qualifies EPS as a Sustainable Material?

Manufacturing and use of EPS & EPP does not generate any risk to health or to the environment.

EPS has an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of zero and Global warming potential (GWP) of less than 5

EPS makes up only a tiny part of Municipal Solid Waste (0.1%).

EPS does not damage the ozone layer - no CFCs or HCFCs are used in the manufacturing process.

The pre-foaming and moulding process consumes little energy and does not generate waste.

Fungi and bacteria cannot easily grow on EPS.

EPS packaging protects products in transit, helping to reduce damage/returns and improves fuel consumption through its lightweight properties.

EPS packaging can come directly into contact with foodstuffs as it meets all the prevailing international health regulations helping to keep food fresher for longer.

EPS obtained A+ rating for the BRE green guide (BRE assesses a materials impact on the environment across its entire lifecycle)

EPS holds a high calorific value. 1kg of EPS is equivalent to 1.3 litres of liquid fuel, making it an ideal material for energy recovery.

As it does not biodegrade EPS does not contaminate the air or water with gases or hydro-soluble substances.

Life cycle analyses have shown that EPS has far less impact on the environment than other competitive materials for the same use.

The use of EPS for thermal insulation in the construction industry contributes significant savings on heating and cooling buildings and a drastic reduction in the emission of polluting gases CO² and SO²)

Energy Recovery

Block Moulding Energy Recovery

The block machine allows recycled material to be reprocessed having a re-grind machine, it uses little electricity to tonnage of production and has contributed to the Livingston site to almost meet the climate change agreement CO² performance improvement in just a few months, it also requires less steam than conventional block moulding machines reducing natural gas consumption at the site.

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Recycling

Consumer EPS Drop Off Points

Our 4 sites across the UK all have EPS drop off points for consumers to drop off their clean expanded polystyrene waste for recycling. Find a recycling point.

Taking more environmental responsibility and being more conscious of waste and recycling we are confident that the business can reduce the carbon footprint of our operations. Through engineering and innovation, we endeavour to work with our customers to develop solutions for a more sustainable world.

References

Executive Study – LCA Food Packaging / Fish Box EPS and the environment

How can we help you?

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