When it comes to responsible expanded polystyrene (EPS) disposal, modern recycling technologies make it possible to significantly reduce the environmental impact of EPS.
Promoting effective product stewardship enables us to greatly mitigate the environmental impact of EPS. By ensuring its diversion from landfills and directing it towards dedicated EPS recycling facilities in Australia, EPS emerges as a remarkable product in fostering a circular economy.
EPS Recyclability And Repeated Recycling Potential
Sadly, it is a common misconception that EPS is difficult to recycle. However, the fact is that, since EPS is composed of 98% air, the material is actually very simple to recycle. Even though polystyrene is 100% recyclable, it only makes up 2% of EPS. It is possible to melt down the polystyrene polymer and use it to create new EPS or other polystyrene plastic products.
Furthermore, EPS is very simple to transport to recycling facilities because of how lightweight it is. In order to maximise the use of the available space during transportation, it can be compacted before being moved. EPS can be compressed by a factor of 40 or more because of its expanded nature. This makes it possible to transport large quantities of EPS with the right equipment.
Proper Sorting and Recycling Technologies are Needed
The lightweight nature of EPS is a blessing as much as it is a curse, as it can be easily carried away by the wind. Additionally, due to its brittleness, it is easily broken apart, releasing minute particles that can leak into the environment when they are blown away.
In order to make sure that the material is processed properly, proper sorting and recycling technologies are required. Furthermore, recycling should only be done with pure, uncontaminated EPS. Densification and melting are two sophisticated recycling techniques that can convert EPS waste into other recyclable materials. Lack of access to these technologies can compromise the recycling process, resulting in lower recycling rates and more waste.
How We/You Can Help
By providing bins for the community to dispose of their clean EPS waste, StyroCycle makes it simple and ethical to recycle EPS in Australia. The reason this is required is because contaminated EPS cannot be recycled. For this reason, EPS should not be put in household recycling bins.
This highlights the critical need for better EPS material sorting and collection. To ensure that EPS recycling takes place on a larger scale, there is a great need for significant industry involvement in product stewardship.
Retailers need to get on board and assist in closing the production loop. Clean EPS can very easily be recycled back into resources such as building insulation for thermally efficient homes.
To learn more about how you can contribute to eco-friendly expanded polystyrene disposal and take part in responsible product stewardship, contact us at StyroCycle today. We offer services and drop-off points that facilitate EPS recycling in Australia!