Recycling EPS Packaging
Thousands of tonnes of EPS are recycled each year by businesses in the UK. If your business has used EPS packaging that could be recycled, the first consideration is finding the right recycler. Contact details for all UK recyclers can be found on the map; the listing also says whether the recycler takes compacted or un-compacted EPS.
Compacted or Densified EPS
If you have tonnes of used EPS each week and are compacting it before sending it to landfill – you could be recycling it instead. There are several recyclers who take compacted EPS; some like WES in Redcar and the Wales Environment Trust in Newport reprocess EPS into a clean pellet that can be used in applications like coat hangers, picture frames and replacement hardwood. Others, most notably Enviro in Grimsby who will take used fish boxes, export the compacted EPS to the Far East where it is recycled and used in new products like disposable cameras and video cases.
If you have tonnes of un-compacted, used EPS each week, some recyclers will install a compacter on your site and then take the compacted material for recycling. In all cases, the recycler will collect the compacted material if you have a large enough amount to make the journey economically viable and in some cases they will pay for the compacted EPS.
Clean un-compacted EPS
If you have clean, un-compacted EPS, there are recyclers who will collect this material, free-of-charge and recycle it into insulation board for construction. You will need to store up enough boxes to fill a truck and they should be palleted and wrapped in plastic film. If you contact one of the recyclers listed as taking un-compacted EPS they will be able to advise you on the minimum amount required for collection.
Consumer EPS Recycling
Currently, Local Authorities do not collect EPS for recycling. There are a few consumer recycling points that have been set up by manufacturers on a voluntary basis to provide a service to their local community.
- Environment facts
- Recycling post-packaging EPS
- Recycling post-construction EPS
- Environmental performance
- BRE Green Guide
- Seafish: Alternative disposal of polystyrene fish boxes (pdf)
- Practicalities, Managing Waste & Energy Recovery
- Recycling Machinery Suppliers
- Links to companies that sell recycled plastic products
More on EPS and the environment