Recycling EPS Foam – Is the Sky Falling?

Recycling EPS is No Myth!

We all remember the fable of Chicken Little and “The sky is falling!”. Chicken Little truly believed the sky was falling and went on a journey convincing others of this ghastly news. There are many different versions of this fable that is centuries old, but the moral remains the same: Do not jump to conclusions and then spread them like they are facts until you have all the information or facts Sadly today, when it comes to recycling expanded polystyrene (EPS), we have many “Chicken Littles” saying “You can’t recycle EPS.”

First things first. What exactly is EPS? EPS is expanded polystyrene foam. It is the white rigid foam that is commonly, but incorrectly referred to as Styrofoam. “Styrofoam” is a Dow trade-name, an extruded polystyrene, and it is actually blue in color. Why are there so many misconceptions about this versatile product? To start, both EPS and Styrofoam have different properties and uses. Unlike the blue foam (Styrofoam), the white foam (EPS) is indeed recyclable! The uses of EPS are virtually endless, ranging from insulation for coolers all the way to a soil substitute known as Geofoam. This recycled product has a variety of uses, from glue to park benches. In fact, not only is it recyclable, but there are also several different methods to do so. Take a look below.

The Grinder

One method of recycling EPS is grinding. Harden Industries can offer the grinder.  Waste polystyrene foam are emptied into the grinder and then moves through a de-duster. The ground particles are then reincorporated into manufacturing process to produce 1# density blocks. The ground product, or “re-grind”, is also sold to the horticulture industry to add to the soil of potted plants. The dust that is collected in this process is cubed and sold to vendors that make picture frames, park benches, trash cans and more.

EPS Grinder

EPS Grinder


Another way to recycle EPS is to densify the product into solid logs or blocks. EPS densifier plays an important role in densifying process. EPS densifier can take large volumes of EPS scrap and extrude it into a small volume. The end use for this product is similar to the dust blocks but also includes surfboards. According to Harden Industries, a EPS recycling equipment provider, the volume reduction is 50:1.

EPS Densifier

EPS Densifier

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