A big question in the industry, How to dispose of Styrofoam

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Source: Suez World

When assessing the environmental features of the packaging material or system, it is necessary to consider the package’s performance, ecological influence during its lifecycle, and end-of-life options. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) transport packaging is innovative, secure, and sustainable. 

Besides EPS cushioning, you can gain less weight and lower damage rates, translating into positive sustainability factors across the paperboard. EPS can be same-recycled into a similar value or up-cycled product into a product of more excellent value. And, EPS is often less energy-intensive than options.

Based on the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s explanations for sustainable packaging, EPS demonstrates good environmental review in most aspects, presenting it as a worthy consideration for product shipments that need superior protection. 

Wherever Did All of This EPS and Styrofoam Come From? 

Polystyrene was identified in 1839 by German apothecary Eduard Simon. He did not realize what he found when he isolated it from the original resin. Eighty years following, Hermann Staudinger, an organic chemist, calculated that Simon had discovered a plastic polymer. Staudinger ultimately won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for all of his polystyrene-related research. In the 1930s, scientists at BASF found a way to create polystyrene commercially. Towards the finish of that decade, the Dow Chemical Company offered products designed with polystyrene to the United States. 

Styrofoam was discovered by Otis Ray McIntire and patented in 1944. McIntyre was a scientist for Dow. His profession there started during World War II when rubber supplies were low. McIntire was decided to create a rubber-like material that could be used for defending purposes. He randomly created foam polystyrene when he combined styrene and isobutylene. The outcome of the combination was a foam that was 30 times lighter and longer flexible than polystyrene in its solid form. It was too inexpensive to make. 

Recycling the Styrofoam – How to dispose styrofoam?

While multiple municipalities and recycling centers do not allow Styrofoam or EPS packaging, that does not mean that these materials are not sustainable. These places might not have the usual foam compacting equipment required to change those light, bulky materials into a densified form for economical shipping. If your business has been thinking of EPS machinery for recycling, remember that densified EPS materials demand recycling companies. The revenue from material sales can even offset the cost of an EPS recycling compactor.

Safe and Healthy Throughout Its Life Cycle 

• Made of 98% air, EPS is an inert material without harmful chemicals that off-gas or leach through its use or disposal. 

• EPS is generally recognized as a safe choice for food contact packaging by government regulatory agencies worldwide. Meets Performance and Cost Market Criteria 

• Because of its versatility, EPS gives significant savings in design and development, product assembly, and distribution costs. 

• With customized packaging designs, EPS delivers the right amount of product protection. Its substantial tensile energy and cellular structure give this lightweight product outstanding cushioning properties.

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Maximizes Renewable or Recycled Reference Materials – Disposing styrofoam

• Recycled EPS is used in closed-loop and open-loop methods to differentiate applications from recycled-content foam packaging to long-lasting goods and innovative latest building products. 

• In 2006, greater than 52% of all EPS collected for recycling was applied to make recycled-content packaging. Does Clean Production Technologies and Best Practices 

A sweet story of recycle logo and plastic

• Innovations in manufacturing technologies assure EPS production reduces energy consumption with mold cavities that cool fast and manufacturing processes that recycle water and recover air emissions? 

• Multiple EPS manufacturers are ISO certified. Physically Designed to Optimize Energy and Materials 

• EPS feedstock is transformed into a finished product 32 times its initial volume, virtually turning air into effective and robust packaging material. 

• If every EPS packaging were displaced with corrugated cardboard, paper, wood, molded fiber, etc., matched with current figures, raw material specifications would rise to 560%, power consumption to 215%, and the landfill volume 150%.

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