Light, strong, cool solutions for the fish supply chain
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).
Recycling and recovery
EPS is easily recycled and its resources recovered for long-life applications
Expanded Polystyrene is technically very easy to recycle and, wherever this is economically viable, recycling can take place in both closed loop and open loop processes. It can then be used in a wide variety of new applications from recycled-content packaging to long-life, highly-durable goods to innovative new products in sectors such as building and construction.
When used for the essential protection of fish and seafood products, at the end of their primary function EPS fishboxes are likely to have become contaminated by fish residues and malodorous fluids which renders them less suitable for recycling. At this stage, they may safely enter the mixed waste stream where the optimum route to resource recovery will be clean-burn incineration to generate energy from waste.
Most EPS packaging is easily recyclable where facilities exist
Highly efficient manufacture and localised production units mean EPS is a low-cost, proven solution
The 2% polystyrene cellular matrix gives outstanding impact resistance
EPS is insoluble and non-hygroscopic
Hygienic & Safe
EPS is non-toxic, chemically inert, and fungi and bacteria cannot grow on it
Unique insulation performance keeps fish safe and eradicates waste
Styrene for EPS is a byproduct of refining but is also abundant in natural products
EPS is effectively 98% air, minimising weight impacts in transportation
Clean manufacturing technologies mean minimal energy and water inputs with no production waste
Why use EPS?
EUMEPS is the association for European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene. It represents converters of expandable polystyrene (EPS) to lobby and promote their interests in Europe. EUMEPS navigates the political and regulatory landscape in Europe and ensure that our voice is heard and the benefits of EPS as a construction and packaging material is understood.
EUMEPS’s vision as an association is simple: “To present a unified industry with a strong image and powerful voice”. This is done by providing a comprehensive service to all our members, allowing them to benefit from collective resources, knowledge and expertise in strategic areas of relevance to the industry.Find out more here