Recycling EPS The Nuts and Bolts of How We Do It

Recycling EPS with Epsilyte

Recycling EPS is one of the things that make expanded polystyrene (EPS) such an attractive manufacturing material. Here at Epsilyte, we have the ability to recycle tons of post-industrial and post-consumer EPS material, thereby keeping it out of landfills and incinerators.

If you have ever wondered about the nuts and bolts of EPS recycling, we are happy to share the basics. Recycling EPS isn’t a secret that no one should know about. In fact, we think it is important that our customers know how we recycle EPS and the fact that we take doing so seriously.

Piqua, OH is home to our main recycling center. The team there is leading the way in our industry’s sustainability efforts by recycling our own production waste along with tons of post-consumer material from numerous sources. Below is a description of how we do it.

Collection and Sorting

The first step in any recycling program is collection and sorting. Post-industrial collection is fairly straightforward because it occurs right in our own facilities. All the waste our manufacturing processes produce goes straight to recycling. As for post-consumer collection, we rely on a variety of means to accomplish it.

Post-consumer materials tend to need sorting. They need to be separated from other materials as well as potential contaminants. Clean sorting is preferred because it is easier on our equipment and makes for a better finished product. However, we recently partnered with an Italian company known as Fimic SRL to incorporate their melt filtration equipment into our recycling process. Their technology is capable of handling different types of physical contamination for better recycling and less risk to equipment.

Material Reduction

Due to its comparatively low density, EPS takes up a lot of space. Efficient recycling requires reducing the material, a job that is managed through compaction and shredding. Compacted EPS is easier to transport and allows for larger volumes. Shredding EPS waste improves the effectiveness of the next step.

Material Granulation

Compacted and shredded EPS is transformed into small polystyrene pellets known as regranulate. We accomplish this by melting and reforming the material. In essence, the material is melted at high temperature and then formed into the pellets. We end up with what appears to be small, plastic granules.

Although material granulation involves a complex process requiring tight controls, the principle of melting and forming pallets is pretty simple. We are taking large volumes of EPS waste, reducing it, and reforming it into usable pellets that facilitate the final step in the recycling process.

Material Repurposing

EPS regranulate is used as a raw material for manufacturing new products. It is essentially a feedstock that can be utilized independently or mixed with other materials to create products. For example, recycled EPS can be extruded to create new sheets of EPS for food packaging or construction.

Recycled EPS can be molded into picture frames, coat hangers, and hundreds of other products. It can also be mixed with materials like concrete to create insulated blocks for building and highway construction.

Recycling Efforts Are Improving

Most EPS waste is also recyclable EPS. We are proud to say that recycling efforts are improving around the world. There is still plenty of work to do in this regard, but Epsilyte is leading the way in recycling both post-industrial and post-consumer EPS. The more we recycle, the more we do to safeguard the future.

We are a company committed to doing right by future generations. In light of that, we believe we have a responsibility to contribute to finding better ways of recycling EPS.