Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam is a lightweight and versatile material extensively used in building construction due to its thermal efficiency, volume, and weight properties. This leads to EPS being used in various forms, such as under slab and perimeter slab insulation, beaded aggregate in lightweight concrete, shaped decorative tiles and mouldings, and structural insulated panels (SIPs). EPS delivers up to 200 times its own resource in thermal energy savings, and also significantly reduces the amount of concrete required for a build. To avoid it being rejected in future construction specifications, it urgently needs to have recycling options expanded.
Using EPS As An Aggregate In Lightweight Concrete
EPS beads can be used as a replacement for traditional aggregate materials in lightweight concrete. This results in a material that is lighter in weight, more resistant to earthquakes, and has better insulation properties. This type of concrete is commonly used in construction for insulation and soundproofing.
Decorative Tiles And Moldings
EPS foam can be moulded into various shapes, making it ideal for decorative tiles and mouldings. Its lightweight properties make it easy to handle and install, and it can be painted or coated to match any design scheme. Project times are shortened, labour costs are reduced, strain injuries are prevented and product breakage is decreased.
Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) And Composite SIP
SIPs are high-performance building panels that consist of an EPS foam core sandwiched between two structural facings. They are used for walls, roofs and floors in residential and commercial construction projects. Composite SIPs are made by combining EPS foam with other materials such as wood, metal or concrete to create a stronger and more durable material.
Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)
High quantities of expanded polystyrene waste (up to 90%) can be used within extruded polystyrene products. Extruded polystyrene is a rigid foam providing high compressive strength and excellent thermal properties Extruded polystyrene sheets are quickly becoming a popular material of choice for builders, architects and engineers for underslab and perimeter slab insulation for the thermal envelope of a building.
The Critical Need For Expanded Polystyrene Recycling
Expanded polystyrene is not biodegradable, which means it can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills. However, the good news is that it is 100% recyclable, and can be recycled repeatedly which makes it an ideal product for circular production processes.
Recycling reduces waste and pollution while conserving energy and resources. EPS foam can be recycled into various products, such as picture frames, insulation and garden furniture, but the lack of council kerbside collection services makes it difficult for our communities to dispose of their waste in a way that benefits the environment.
Did you know that only about 10% of EPS foam is recycled globally? This highlights the need to increase awareness and promote recycling efforts for this versatile material. By recycling EPS foam, we can reduce waste and the environmental impact of construction projects, whilst ensuring the thermal efficiency of the build. StyroCycle is committed to promoting EPS foam recycling and can provide guidance and support to those interested in implementing a recycling program.