13 Sep High potential EPS recycling
The end of life of products is a particularly topical issue in the EU. The Joint Research Center (JRC), the European scientific commission, which provides independent consultancy services in the EU decision-making process, has published an end-of-life report of a series of materials to identify the most suitable candidates to develop new end-of-life and recycling strategies.
Expanded polystyrene was included among the candidates belonging to plastics, which obtained an excellent score according to the evaluation criteria adopted in the survey, resulting among those with the best potential for further development in the community.
Among the 12 evaluation criteria adopted were considered the current rates of collection and reuse/recycling of the materials under investigation, the possible uses of the material obtained from the recycling, the purity/composition of the recovered material and the possible presence of raw materials, the expected impacts on the environment and human health.
An index from 1 (lower potential) to 3 (higher potential) was assigned for each item, defining that the maximum attributable score was 60: the polystyrene obtained a remarkable 57.
Indices of excellence were the high recycling potential, thanks to the many areas in which recycled polystyrene can be used, the high estimated market value of the recycled product in the EU (> 1,500€/ton for recycled EPS) , the purity of the recovered material (> = 95%), the existence of specific legislation that regulates recycled polystyrene at an international, national and regional level.
Another very significant benefit of using polystyrene is a reduction of about 80% of greenhouse gas emissions.
The significant result of this research promotes further investigations in the EU on the opportunities for EPS recovery and recycling.
Complete document – JRC-Scoping possible further EU-wide end-of-waste and by-product criteria