Expanded polystyrene (EPS), also known as foam or “Styrofoam”, has many ecological characteristics.
First of all, it is important to keep in mind that expanded polystyrene is composed of 98% air and only 2% material. There are not many products on the market composed of as little material. It is simply an ingenious and effective idea to trap air and use it for varied applications! Indeed, it is possible to find it in various industrial fields like automotive, packaging, sports, etc. but it also can be found in houses as an insulator. And because it is composed of 98% air, it is easily recyclable at ecocentres and in the blue bins of some cities.
Less Energy Required to Manufacture
Studies have shown that polystyrene, considering its full lifecycle, has very low impact on the environment and human health. It is one of the least harmful packaging materials1. Moreover, 50% less energy is required to produce it than other materials such as cardboard or paper2.
1. Study by CIRAIG (International Reference Centre of the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services) www.ciraig.org
2. Study by CPIA (Canadian Plastics Industry Association) – www.plastics.ca
Reduced Carbon Footprint
EPS has physical insulating properties. This is why it is used in building insulation products for homes, schools, hospitals and more. In fact, it is used in many sectors such as residential, commercial, industrial and institutional. Its high-level insulating properties significantly reduce the carbon footprint linked to heating and cooling energy consumption.
Inert and Durable
Expanded polystyrene is an inorganic and rot-proof material; it means it does not decompose itself under the action of micro-organisms. In other words, it cannot create mold or fungi, which proves to be a considerable advantage in the industrial and construction fields. Moreover, this material can be recycled and reused many times without losing its physical characteristics. To be more precise, it can be recycled up to 20 times without its properties being altered.
Recycled at a Large-Scale
EPS and other expanded plastics can easily be recycled. In Europe, it is a very widespread practice, and Canada is increasingly adhering to this practice. Polyform is also an important expanded polystyrene and other plastics recycler. Indeed, several millions of kilograms of plastics have been annually recovered by the company in the last ten year, usually from factories, distribution centers, businesses and ecocentres.
A Fully Valued Product
Polyform values EPS by reusing it in product manufacturing such as large blocks, packaging and insulated forms, a permanent insulated concrete forms system that enables the construction of sustainable and energy efficient buildings. The company therefore allows polystyrene to make a complete lifecycle, from its initial state to its recycled use.
A Product to Consider
Lightweight and inexpensive, expanded polystyrene is the ideal material to protect your belongings. It has a significant impact on our economy, because electronic devices, furniture, appliances and thousands of other products would be much more expensive if they were not protected by EPS. Indeed, this material is affordable, but protects as effectively as other packaging products such as cardboard.
In the very near future, a global scale recycling movement will make polystyrene more accessible to be recovered and recycled, just like any other product currently on the market.
For more information, visit www.polyform.com.