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As The problem with EPS recycling and how your business can help

by Rohan Mathew

Thousands of tons of expandable polystyrene (EPS) and other types of industrial Styrofoam end up in the landfill every year unnecessarily.  That’s because companies don’t bother to recycle EPS justifying that it doesn’t yield too much material as compared to its weight and volume. Not only is it expensive to store but also to transport. So, while the demand for expanded polystyrene is growing, firms fail to take responsibility for the recycling of this important waste stream. The problem with EPS is that it’s non-biodegradable, taking up a great deal of space in the landfill. What is more, it can break down into little pieces, meaning that it scatters all across the environment. 

Even if curbside recycling is limited when it comes down to Styrofoam, there are recycling markets. Companies can no longer afford to ignore social responsibility because they put themselves at risk of irrelevancy. The volume of expanded polystyrene waste should be reduced and recyclable materials should be shipped economically to a specialized center. Recycling EPS helps many markets, including but not limited to manufacturers, furniture stores, food companies, retailers, and schools. Taking into consideration how urgent the issue of environmental damage is, in particular, the waste going into the landfill, businesses shouldn’t ignore recycling any longer. Now is the time to take action. 

Why is it so difficult to recycle EPS? 

Similar to many plastics, Styrofoam is slow to biodegrade. Some experts believe that the decomposition of expanded polystyrene takes about 500 years. These days, a great deal of material is floating around, especially along shores and waterways. There’s an increasing amount of EPS in the oceans too. The point is that it’s harmful to us and it needs to go. Many cities around the world use expanded polystyrene because it’s lightweight and cheap. The white foam plastic material can be used for packaging and insulation because it has a high resistance to mildew, rot, and bacteria. Nonetheless, EPS has a wide range of end-use applications. 

EPS is identified by the #6 resin code identification code. EPS6 is used to make many consumer goods, so it can be found in appliances, televisions, car parts, and so on. Owing to its functionality, low cost, and protective properties, Styrofoam is the go-to choice for many organizations. Even though the community might recycle plastic #6, recycling centers might not accept expanded polystyrene. The explanation lies in the fact that it’s an end product, which means that it’s not free of contaminants. Facilities can grind it for other applications. Nevertheless, EPS can create quality issues for future end-users. Recycling expanded polystyrene can be really inconvenient, but it’s necessary to make an effort. 

How your company can say goodbye to EPS 

The responsibility of recycling expanded polystyrene is up to companies, which need to drive change. Businesses that deal with large pieces of EPS on a regular basis should invest in devices such as a polystyrene compactor, which is the right solution for compacting EPS6. It allows companies to save a lot of money on skip hire by melting down the recyclable material into a small block, which can be easily removed from the machine and stored. The dense Styrofoam blocks are used to manufacture new products. According to the experts, the machine pays for itself in a maximum of a year. An advanced compacting system allows your business to streamline waste management and save valuable resources. 

Working with a recycling company for pick-up 

Work with a recycling company that accepts EPS, whether it’s stacked, bagged, bailed, or condensed. It can be recycled in many different ways, including thermal densification and compression. Given its wide number of applications, Styrofoam has a bright future ahead. The biggest mistake you can make is to throw the expanded polystyrene into the trash bin. 

If you look hard enough, you’ll find a recycling center in your area. Check the availability of recycling locations and special collection events. In other words, demonstrate active involvement. Waste reduction should be a top priority for firms as the impact of consumer waste has become more evident. Recycling initiatives have been implemented across industries, but they target paper, aluminum, and plastic bottles. EPS rarely receives the attention it deserves. Well, all that is going to change. 

Refusing to use EPS whenever possible 

As mentioned earlier, expanded polystyrene can be used for packaging goods. It might be lightweight, but it’s durable and structurally strong, so it can ensure resistant cushioning and shock absorption for various products made for shipping. Many companies have achieved success in getting rid of expanded polystyrene. The question now is: What can be done to reduce waste and build lean processes?

It’s recommended to have a discussion with your procurement team about refusing to buy EPS products. It would be better to use packaging made from biodegradable or compostable products. Corrugated cardboard offers a greener alternative to plastic solutions. Collaborate with eco-friendly suppliers that are better aligned with your business goals. 

Final considerations 

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) should be banned all over the world because it has serious impacts upon the environment and human health. It represents a piece of toxic trash to humans, not to mention wildlife and marine life. Many agree with the fact that Styrofoam is more harmful than helpful. Its harmful effects outweigh its cheap and convenient use. In an attempt to make the world greener, it’s necessary to eliminate the use of expanded polystyrene and search for more eco-friendly alternatives.  The pressure is mounting and corporations such as Amazon and Walmart have already started to make changes. 

There’s no better time than now to start compacting EPS. Every time it goes into the dumpster without being compacted, you incur unnecessary expenses and vital resources are lost. Investing in a compacting machine is a smart business decision because you can significantly reduce your annual budget for waste removal. All it takes is to partner with a company that offers the right recycling solution. You’ll be able to reduce the environmental strain caused by Styrofoam in no time.

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