CROFTON, Md., Dec. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a material you may see almost every day. It insulates your home, it keeps your food fresh, it ensures your packages arrive safe – and, yes, EPS is recyclable. For the past two decades, the EPS industry has consistently developed better recycling methods and increased waste diversion, despite negative media coverage and legislative ban initiatives that continue to say it's not recyclable.
Growth in EPS recycling can be attributed to ongoing EPS recycling innovations. Recent developments have led to advancements in EPS recycling methods and even EPS curbside collection. When tasked with tackling a polystyrene disposal issue, the San Diego City Council decided to take a different approach. After careful deliberation, San Diego decided against a polystyrene ban and instead incorporated EPS into their existing curbside program; they are now benefiting from polystyrene recycling alongside 56 other cities in California.
According to the 2016 Expanded Polystyrene Recycling Rate Report issued by the EPS Industry Alliance, the spread of EPS recycling is not limited to cities and municipalities. The report shows that over 118 million pounds of EPS were recycled in 2016, a figure representing 45 companies and independent recyclers. Compared to just four years ago, the amount of EPS recycled has increased by more than 25 million pounds.
There are some exciting new developments that mean EPS recycling will continue to grow; Agilyx and FoamCycle are two companies that are aiming to expand collection access and reprocessing methods. Agilyx has established the first commercially viable pyrolysis system that chemically recycles polystyrene, opening a new plant in Portland, Oregon earlier this year. FoamCycle, in operation since 2015, created an all-in-one EPS recycling station that can be placed in almost any location that has adequate space and electrical access.
"FoamCycle worked on making an all-inclusive packaging-typed process that would have a container," stated Reenee Casapulla, recycling coordinator for Sussex County MUA in New Jersey. "It would have a piece of equipment that would densify the Styrofoam. It would have a way of housing the raw material before it was processed and also finding markets for the processed material to be made into other products, all within the same state." Reenee also invites other recycling locations to visit their facilities in Sussex County: "We want them to see how well it has seamlessly integrated into our operations!"
In the face of constant pressure, the EPS industry has accomplished an all-time high of recycling, further reinforcing how hard the industry is working towards a sustainable future. Regardless of product bans and a never-ending supply of naysayers, the EPS industry will continue its staunch dedication to environmental stewardship.
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SOURCE EPS Industry Alliance