Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is one of the most common forms of plastic we encounter in our daily lives. From foam cups to filling space under concrete floors, EPS seems is everywhere. And who can ever forget the inimitable bean bag with all those little beads of EPS. Many imported commercial and household items will use EPS in their packaging. It has a lot of compelling features for manufacturers and users, being light, mouldable and cheap. But it also has it’s downsides in that it is often bulky and produces polystyrene ‘snow’ when cut or broken. These bits can easily find their way into the environment and will either stay in soil or get washed into waterways. Many people don’t realise that EPS is a highly recyclable form of plastic which readily reintegrate itself into new EPS products. Services for recovering EPS have grown in recent years as the makers of EPS products are keen to get that old EPS back.

Organisations such as Abilities and Divert NZ will collect commercial quantities of EPS. In the construction sector, manufacturers such as Expol will collect scrap EPS from building sites. Some Mitre 10 stores will collect residential quantities of EPS for recycling. Next time you grumble about the amount of space EPS is taking up in your bin try checking out a recycling option. A comprehensive list of recycling options for EPS can be found here.

Photo credit: Expol

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Bernadette Robert

Bernadette Robert