The Circular Economy of EPS Foam

Reuse and recycle are the most commonly used words regarding sustainability and sound environmental policy. The more uses for a single created item prior to its disposal, the better it is for the earth. Reusable or repurposable items are also more economical than single-use products. It is why many environmentalists and policymakers decry the prevalence of single-use plastics in today’s economy.

Given that EPS is often grouped in with single-use plastics when it comes to policy making, you might not know that EPS, unlike many other plastics-based products, has incredible recyclability and reusability. Along with the EPS Industry Alliance (EPS-IA), we seek to educate consumers and policymakers on EPS’s ability to be part of earth-friendly practices and laws.

In general, environmentalists’ problem with plastic is its lack of reusability. Unlike typical plastics, however, EPS packaging solutions are designed for sustainability and resource conservation throughout their life cycle.

First, EPS is often used to insulate and protect, and thus by its very nature, is easier to recycle. However, EPS is also quite durable, which increases the number of times businesses can reuse it. For example, the EPS-IS estimates that molded EPS foam designed to protect car parts is used an average of 24 times before it no longer offers the same level of protection. The EPS-IA also notes, “Numerous life cycle analysis reports confirm the use of EPS packaging results in less greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, water consumption and waste than alternative materials.” In addition to these significant environmentally friendly factors, EPS’s biggest contribution to waste reduction is its ability to stop products from rotting or breaking, thus preventing goods from ending up in landfills before their first use.

One of the best things both commercial users of EPS and traditional consumers can do to improve EPS foam’s lifecycle is to recycle it. In the US alone, over 400 EPS recycling centers exist. Reach out to us or find a recycling center or a mail-in program here:

And if you ever have any questions about how to recycle and sustainably use EPS in an upcoming project, contact us!

Graphics depicting the circular economy of EPS foam