End of Life – Options
Most used EPS is collected and easily converted into other EPS products, including long-life applications. These include coat hangers, CD cases and wood-substitute products. When used in fish boxes, EPS is less likely to be collected due to the fact that it has been contaminated by the fish it has protected. However, our industry is constantly searching for viable recycling options which would enable the growth of facilities able to cope with EPS packaging used in the cold supply chain.
In spite of the widespread use of EPS in packaging, it has been calculated that EPS accounts for only 0.1% of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). As Government moves towards more clean-burn incineration of waste into energy, waste plastics (including EPS) are playing a crucial role in helping achieve the temperatures required for optimum clean-burn efficiency. In this way, with a calorific value higher than coal, end-of-life EPS can become a useful recoverable resource.
Landfill is always a last resort but users of EPS fish boxes should be reassured that, even in landfill, EPS remains inert and will not decompose to generate greenhouse gases or degenerate to pollute the air, water or ecosystems. EPS has zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and zero Global Warming Potential (GWP).