EPS and the Environment

We all know our environment is important – after all we live here! But it can be easy, in our pursuit to counteract the effects of climate change and pollution, to jump to hasty conclusions about which products are good and which are bad. At Plymouth Foam, an Altor Solutions company, we know how important “going green” is to our world – and we also know that EPS foam often gets a bad rap it doesn’t deserve! 

A few years ago, when the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) became a recurrent headline, all of America went on a crusade to eliminate straw use. Their reasoning? Because straws are made of plastic – and are used prolifically in our daily caffeine consumption – eliminating straw use would decrease the plastic waste ending up in our oceans. But while the sentiment was admirable, straws were not the type of plastic that was the cause of situations like the GPGP. 

EPS Foam, like plastic straws, has received a reputation for environmental un-friendliness. EPS, however, is very often an environmentally friendly choice! Our friends over at the EPS Industry Alliance, created a fun infographic to showcase the impact (or lack thereof) that EPS foam has on the environment. Here are some of the factoids they shared:

  • In 2018, 19,850 tons of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) was recycled and turned into new products – this is the equivalent of the yearly waste of more than 13,000 homes being recycled. 
  • To create one ton of EPS foam uses less than a third of the energy of a 100 watt light bulb 
  • An EPS container requires about 9.5 gallons of water to make. In comparison, the average person uses 85 gallons of water a day! 

Not included in the infographic, but of equal importance, is how much waste EPS saves. Expanded Polystyrene is unrivaled when it comes to lightweight shipping protection, especially for sensitive items like electronics. By not using EPS, more products end up damaged and consequently in landfills, simply from the shipping process. At Plymouth Foam, an Altor Solutions company, we recommend that instead of decreasing the use of EPS, we increase the ease of recycling it! For those local to our Plymouth location, you can always drop off your EPS foam at our facilities. Have questions about how to recycle EPS or its environmental safety? Contact us!