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Sustainability

EPS and the Environment

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, fueled 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.

Facts

  • 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 Qualifies EPS as a Sustainable Material?

  • The manufacturing and use of EPS does not generate any risk to health or to the environment.
  • EPS obtained A+ rating for the BRE green guide
    (BRE assesses a materials impact on the environment across its entire lifecycle)
  • EPS has an Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of zero and Global warming potential (GWP) of less than 5
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • Fungi and bacteria cannot easily grow on EPS.
  • EPS makes up only a tiny part of Muncipal Solid Waste (0.1%).
  • 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.

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 2021.

Energy recovery at Livingston with the block moulding machine?

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. Find out more.

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 endeavor to work with our customers to develop solutions for a more sustainable world.

 References

https://www.epsindustry.org/sites/default/files/Summary_EUMEPS%20Fish%20Box%20%20LCA.pdf
http://www.eps.co.uk/pdfs/eps_and_the_environment.pdf