Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam. It is usually white and made of pre-expanded polystyrene beads. The beads are heated by steam and expand 50 times before charged in a mold to become a formed piece, which contains 95 -98 % air and 2-5% polystyrene. It is a versatile, lightweight material that can be manufactured into a variety of products. EPS offers a high-performance yet economical support for a wide variety of items—from sensitive electronics to appliances to pharmaceuticals—to be safely delivered to market. Manufacturers rely on EPS packaging because it can prevent or minimize product damage during transit and it owns excellent insulation properties required for food and medical shipments.
Yet used EPS will eventually become solid waste and have to be disposed. But here’s the good news: EPS is recyclable. Although the availability of polystyrene recycling programs varies by community and can be limited, the EPS industry uses average of 50 percent of the post consumer material collected in the manufacture of new EPS transport packaging and loose fill packaging, which has reduced requirements for raw material resources, energy consumption has diverted material from landfills. Nowadays, more and more countries play an active role in EPS recycling.