What Is EPS
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a thermoplastic foam made from suspension polymerization of styrene and then added with a blowing agent. When heated, the blowing agent softens and generates gas, turning polystyrene into a rigid closed-cell foam. This uniform and closed cavity structure makes EPS have the characteristics of low water absorption, excellent dielectric properties, light weight and high mechanical strength, offering benefits such as:
EPS has been mainly used in packaging and engineering fields because of its excellent long-lasting thermal insulation, unique cushioning shock resistance, aging resistance and water resistance.
Polystyrene Packaging Materials
EPS is manufactured into a variety of outer packaging for instrument packaging and fresh food transportation, such as the one we are most exposed to is a disposable polystyrene fast food box.
Polystyrene Engineering Material
As a new type of engineering material, EPS is widely used in various civil engineering projects, effectively solving the engineering problems of differential settlement of soft ground, moisture resistance of buildings, and thermal insulation of water conservancy facilities.
EPS Insulation Board
EPS can be used in the manufacture of sliders, model planes, and even surfboards because of its positive strength to weight ratio. The strength of EPS along with its shock absorbing properties makes it effective for use in children’s seats and cycling helmets. It is also compression resistant, meaning that EPS is ideal for stacking packaging goods. EPS also has applications in horticulture in seedling trays to promote aeration of the soil.
EPS is 98% air and it is 100% recyclable.
In Australia about 45,000* tonnes of EPS is created and consumed each year. Much of this EPS is embedded in long-term use (such as waffle pods used in housing construction and engineering/manufacturing components), however, approximately 40% (or 18,000 tonnes p.a) is single-use or short-term packaging that can be recycled after use. We currently only recycle about 29.7% (or 4,900 tonnes p.a.) of this EPS packaging so there is plenty of opportunity to recycle more.
[*Data Source: 2014 National Plastics Recycling Survey, SRU]