Love-Hate OR Supply-Demand?

A love-hate relationship; we all have them. Whether personal or professional we have all learned that the emotion of love can become complex and filled with hate. A difficult scenario to explain yet, we all have been there. Have you ever thought of having a love-hate relationship with EPS foam? We hadn’t either… Not until stumbling across an Earth911.Com blog post titled, “Debate Over Expanded Polystyrene Recycling Gets Weighty.”

In summary the post makes valuable arguments for why recycling EPS foam is important. This starts with the current infrastructure in place for recycled products, education on recycling EPS foam and growing market trends. Here are a few facts we found notable to bullet point for you –

  • More than 140 businesses in the United States currently recycle EPS or manufacture products from recycled foam, those numbers are likely to grow.
  • Approximately 50 percent of U.S. households have access to carton recycling (a consumer packaging material whose recycling has now become mainstream).
  • China is a significant EPS consumer; insulation purposes in new construction and remodeling projects as well as packaging and exporting.
  • Research firm Markets and Markets (Dallas predicts the global EPS market to experience a compound annual growth rate of 8.2 percent through the year 2018.
  • The EPS Industry Alliance reported that EPS processing in the United States has increase from 93.7 million pounds in 2012 to 127.3 million pounds in 2013, based on data from 41 manufacturers and recyclers.
  • (In reference of turning EPS back into PS) Freedonia Group (Cleveland) study shows that in 2011, 31 million pounds of PS were demanded; expectations of 47 million pounds in 2016 and 68 million pounds in 2021.
  • A 40 cubic yard tractor trailer of EPS weighs about 450 pounds, compared with 3 to 4 tons if it were filled with waste.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Washington D.C.) estimates that Americans throw away 25 billion foam cups each year; this could potentially provide steady work for recycling businesses instead of heading to landfills.

While the term ‘love-hate’ involves extreme emotions, we prefer to look at the situation about EPS recycling as a basic supply and demand equation. Similar to the economy and a fundamental concept, how much of a product is desired by buyers directly correlates to how much the market can offer. This is relative to the closing statement from the blog, “With more education and investment in the needed infrastructure, expanded polystyrene could be the recycling industry’s next big thing rather than an endangered species.”


 For more, exciting information regarding this topic, please visit the original posting at: