Currys PC World’s delivery drivers take EPS packaging (along with cardboard and other plastic packaging) back from the householder to their depot when they deliver and unpack a new product. The loose EPS is then brought back to regional distribution hubs, all of which have EPS briquetting machines which grind and compact the EPS into condensed briquettes. These briquettes are then palletised ready for collection and onward recycling. The typical full load for briquetted material is about 8 to 10 tonnes a load.
The briquetted material is then collected by European Polymers, who are specialists in polystyrene recycling, and exported to Holland where it is pelletised and re-extruded back into EPS beads. These beads are then sent to France to be turned into insulation. This end market has been chosen based on the high rebate Dixons Carphone receives due to the high quality of the original material and that it gets turned back into a high value product.
This is a fantastic example of a retail supply chain capturing material, normally perceived as a burden, and turning it into a valuable commodity which can then be processed back into new products. This is a prime example of the circular economy in practice.