The coronavirus crisis has underlined the versatility and indispensable nature of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam for packaging and medical uses, EUMEPS, the European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene.
EPS foam, commonly known under names such as Airpop, Styropor™, Styrofoam™, polistyrène or polistirolo, has long been the preferred packaging material for essential food and medical uses including fish boxes and organ transplants. Its excellent insulation properties and lack of any sustenance for bacteria ensures that fresh and frozen materials arrive safe. Those properties have also proven themselves in the transportation of medicines and COVID-19 samples to laboratories for testing as governments across Europe have ramped up testing in an effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
“When you need to make sure to avoid contamination and keep things in transit cool, safe and sterile, there’s no better material than EPS,” said EUMEPS President Paolo Garbagna. “We have even seen examples of people using lightweight EPS to help improvised masks for hospital workers stay in place,” he said.
In additional to food and medical uses, EPS is widely used in building insulation as well as bicycle helmets, children’s automobile seats and swim vests because of its ability to provide optimal insulation and shock absorption while being extremely lightweight. It is 98% air and almost infinitely recyclable.
“We are delighted that the closing and selective reopening of municipal recycling parks across Europe has given many local authorities and recyclers an opportunity to remind people that EPS can easily be recycled,” he said.
The association for European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene (EUMEPS) is the voice of the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) industry in Brussels. Our members are 23 National Associations of Expanded Polystyrene in Europe. They represent local EPS converters, raw material suppliers, additive suppliers, EPS recyclers, and machinery provider companies. Our associated members are individual companies across the entire EPS supply chain. Altogether our membership represents 1,000 companies, most of them small and medium sized companies (SMEs), which directly employ around 60,000 people in Europe.