Recycling turns EPS that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. There are four main waste reduction options for EPS packaging:
Reduce – refers to the reduction of natural resources used. By optimising pack design, moulders can reduce EPS usage, thus reducing environmental burden and cost. EPS packaging can be utilized in many ways after its original intended use. As such, they contribute towards protecting valuable resources.:
Re-Use – EPS packaging can be re-used as multi-trip packaging, e.g. for the internal transport of partially assembled goods. Another simple re-use of the packaging is to grind it and use it as soil conditioner to improve drainage and aeration. EPS seed and pot-holding trays are often re-used in this way at garden centres.
Recycle – is the reprocessing of used EPS packaging to make a new material such as hardwood replacement for garden furniture, slate replacement for roofing tiles and new plastics items such as coat hangers, CD and video cases
- Recover – EPS has a very high calorific value, higher than that of coal, and can be safely burnt within energy recovery units, or incinerators, without giving off toxic or environmentally damaging fumes.
How a recycling scheme works
For some companies it is favorable to introduce an individual recycling scheme. Many major electronic and car manufacturers and electrical retailers have successful, economically viable schemes.
Compaction – in order to recycle used EPS packaging, it must be segregated from other materials. EPS is easily recognisable and can be collected at retail outlets, distribution centres, factories or warehouses. Then the collected material is compacted up to one-fortieth of its original size for easy, cost-effective transportation.
Collection – the recycler will send a lorry to collect the material once there is a full lorry load ready. This is taken back to the recycler's factory.
Granulation – the recycler feeds the EPS into a granulator that chops the material into smaller pieces.
Blending – the material is passed into a blender for thorough mixing with similar granules.
- Extrusion – the material is fed into the extruder, where it is melted. Colour can be added and the extruded material is then moulded into a new value added product.
Read more about the implementation of a recycling scheme about the implementation of a recycling scheme
International Activities: Recycling of Packaging Applications
EPS fish boxes are widely used throughout the world. Please read more on the recycling and end-of-life options on www.fishboxes.info