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A Guide to EPS Recycling

Start a EPS Recycling Program

EPS (Expanded Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam) can and needs to be recycled. Starting an EPS recycling program? We offer a simple guide for you!

EPS need to be recycled

EPS have the phsical mechanical properties that meets the requirements of packaging and thermal insulation material in geobuildings while with extremely light weight. Although EPS is made from petroleum products, but the fact is that it uses less fossil fuels in its lifecycle than any other alernatives. On the other hand, recycled EPS may not be so good as virgin EPS, but that is acceptable.

How to recycle EPS?

Light weight can be an advantage when considering it as a packaging material or containers, but when it comes to recycling, the same property could be a huge drawback. It is so light that the truckload weight is very low. Therefore, the cost of shipping increases notablely. EPS densifiers provide a possible solution to this problem, with a screw compact mechanism the weight-volume ratio can be increased by 50 times or even higher. So it is possible to recycle EPS economically. When choosing a densifier, serveral factors should be taken in to consideration such as space, cost and available amount of EPS etc.

EPS densifier

EPS densifier

Get started

EPS recycling is based on the fact that recycled EPS can be reused as painting frames or additive to virgin EPS. As long as there is a market for ercycled EPS, you can build your recycling program around that.

Consederations of an EPS recycling program

To identify EPS, one should find arrows triangle with the number 6 in the center. Besides, it should be noted that some markets may not accept colored EPS and EPS with addtive like fire retardants may also be rejected. What is more, labels and tape should be removed as it may block the scrrens on extruders.

EPS collection

For a continuous operation, you need a large amount of foam. The major industries that produce EPS waste are electronic appliance, shipping, packaging and architecture etc. To collect EPS, it is important to provide easy accesses for users. In addition to traditional curbside recycling program or seperating on MRF (material recovery facility), new technology can be used, for you can provide a smart phone app to update new recycle schedules, highlight your drop-off locations or even accept reservations for home service .

In conclusion, to start a EPS recycling program you should make sure that there are demands for recycled EPS, and take many infulence factors into consideration. Last but not least, remember to provide easy accesses for users so that you can get enough EPS waste to operate. May this EPS recycling guide be helpful for you!

The process of EPS waste recycling


The first step of recycling EPS waste is to separate the waste EPS material into either ‘contaminated’ or clean categories. As ‘contaminated’ EPS waste could have paper labels, staples, sticky tape or colour stain on it, or been used to carry fish, plants, fruit or vegetables. Clean EPS has no extra labelling or marks and will have been used to package electrical goods or car parts or similar items.

Both clean and contaminated EPS packaging can be recycled but the process is different so it is vital that the two are separated.


Recycling companies will collect EPS packaging for recycling once a sufficient quantity has been stored up. Some will take the packaging exactly as it is, other will want the packaging compacted.

Compaction EPS can be compacted to one-fortieth of its original size for easy, cost-effective transportation. Companies such as Sony or Hitachi have a compacting machine installed on their sites to compact EPS packaging before it is collected by the recycler.

The Recycling Process

The recycler feeds the compacted blocks of EPS into a granulator which crushs the material into smaller pieces. The material is passed into a blender for thorough mixing with similar granules. This material is fed into the extruder, where it is melted. Colour is added and the extruded material is then moulded into its new shape, such as strips of wood replacement to build garden benches.

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