How is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) recycled?
Polystyrene is recycled in four different stages; Segregation, Collection, Reprocessing, and Export.
Segregation is where the polystyrene needs to be separated before it enters the mainstream to minimize contamination. For example, putting it into a separate bag from your normal garbage and plastics. This needs to happen so that polystyrene doesn’t end up in landfills and can be recycled properly.
Due to Expanded Polystyrenes’ lightweight properties, it makes the costs for transportation a major component when recycling the polystyrene and transporting it between trucks to the persons designated recycling factory. When the polystyrene is getting collected the polystyrene scrap is either bagged in loose or baled form, it is also quite common in Australia for a lot of businesses to utilize a lot of expanded polystyrene packaging and have worked with recycling companies to assist with transportation and collection costs.
Reprocessing is where the Expanded Polystyrene is fed into a granulation machine, where the granulated material is then fed to a hopper where it is stored before being compressed into continuous lengths. From there the material is then broken into lengths suitable for palletization, where once palletized the materials are then ready to be exported.
Export is where most of the Expanded Polystyrene is recycled for further reprocessing as there are such small quantities of EPS waste generated in Australia and very little domestic demand for the product.