Polystyrene is an inexpensive, lightweight and versatile plastic commonly found in food trays, coffee cups and protective packaging. It’s also used as insulation in housing and commercial building slabs.
Mitre 10 has partnered with EXPOL to solve a problem with this tricky waste product. They offer a free Household EPS Recycling Programme. Up to two rubbish bags of clean EPS is accepted.
EPS Recycling Cubes
Anyone who’s ever ordered furniture online has probably seen the foam pieces that cushion it in transit. These are made of expanded polystyrene, or EPS. Unlike Styrofoam, which can be recycled, this type of plastic cannot be melted and turned into new products, so it usually ends up in landfill.
However, it’s a lightweight material and can be recycled for other uses, including picture frames, shoe heels, insulation, and park benches. It also protects delicate electronics and appliances during shipping.
To recycle EPS, it must be clean, free of tape, paper, metal fasteners and other contaminants. It is then crushed in a machine called a densifier, which removes the air and compresses it into blocks of solid, reusable material. It can then be used to make items such as StyroDrain, Quick Drain, Under Floor and StyroSlab Sheet, or to insulate a home. You can drop off EPS waste at Mitre 10 stores nationwide, but it pays to call first to see if there are any charges and whether or not they accept large quantities of the material.
Commercial EPS Recycling
Most communities recycle plastic bottles, but expanded polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) is rarely recycled, due to its size and bulk. Even when it is collected, it is difficult to separate from other plastics for recycling and can get mixed into discarded paper, food scraps, and other debris. To make it easier, businesses can work with local recycling companies to arrange for a specialized collection service.
EPS recycling centers separate out EPS foam from other waste materials and grind it into smaller pieces. This makes it easier to transport and reprocess into new products. These new products can include park benches and fencing, which help reduce the need for wood harvested from rainforests.
Commercial EPS recycling centers often use balers and other equipment to compress the granulated EPS into dense blocks that are easier to transport. They may also use a chemical called limonene, which dissolves and concentrates EPS, making it easier to transport. The resulting blocks can be used in various products, such as picture frames and egg cartons.
Domestic EPS Recycling
EPS is everywhere in our homes: it holds our take-out coffee, packs frozen food and cushions electronics for shipping. It’s also 98% air, making it lightweight and inexpensive. But what happens when you’re done with it?
Although EPS is marked with the chasing arrows recycling symbol, most local governments don’t accept it in their curbside recycling carts. That’s because EPS is difficult to recycle back into its base form.
Other plastics, identified by their recycling code number, such as 1 (water and soda bottles) and 2 (laundry detergent and other containers) are easier to separate. But EPS, which has the recycling code number 6, is usually mixed with other waste in garbage trucks and ends up in landfills. It can take hundreds of years to break down in modern landfills, which are sealed from water and oxygen to prevent biodegradation. It also takes up space, which costs municipalities money to clean up. Recyclers have developed ways to deal with the issue, including baling it and using limonene, a natural solvent made from orange peels, to reduce its bulk.
EPS Recycling Auckland
Polystyrene recycling auckland is a versatile material used to protect items in shipping, build brands, delight customers and reduce supply chain waste. Polystyrene can also be repurposed to create building materials like OSB/EPS SIPs which are one of the most environmentally-friendly construction products available.
Poly EPS can be recycled at collection points around New Zealand. This is possible because EPS is the only rigid foam that is 100% recyclable. It can be sent directly to a factory to be recycled in NZ as opposed to being sent overseas like many other rigid foams.
Often known as Styrofoam, it is the soft white foam blocks you find in takeaway food packaging and protective packing. It’s also the material in the outside housing of your computer or TV, surfboards, boogie boards and even some toy cars and aircraft. While it has some good uses, it’s a tricky plastic to recycle because it’s incredibly lightweight and can blow away in landfill or recycling bins, becoming litter.