The facts about the environmental impact of EPS will surprise you.
The environmental impact of the materials that we use in every human activity is of growing concern and importance. EPS is a light and rigid foam that is widely used in the worldwide building and construction industry, mainly as a thermal insulation.
EPS does not and has never contained either CFCs [chlorofluorocarbons] or HCFCs [hydrochlorofluorocarbons] gases, which diminish the ozone layer and in addition is fully recyclable and no waste is created in its manufacture.
EPS is an excellent example of an efficient use of natural resource, the transformation process uses very little energy. The use of EPS for thermal insulation in the construction industry means significant energy savings on heating and cooling buildings and a dramatic reduction in the emission of polluting gases. It therefore contributes to alleviating the greenhouse effect and acid rain.
Manufacture and use of EPS does not generate any risk to health or the environment and life cycle analyses have shown that expanded polystyrene has far less of an impact on the environment than other competitive materials for the same use.
GWP [Global Warming Potential] and ODP [Ozone Depletion Potential]
EPS always scores well in relation to the protection of the Earth’s ozone layer, as neither chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs] nor hydrochlorofluorocarbons [HCFCs] are used in its manufacture nor are these ozone depleting components emitted whilst EPS is in situ.
Therefore EPS passes an obvious first test of its suitability of a role in environmental protection and obtains a zero depletion rating and thus achieves a BREEAM credit. The GWP figure is required under the Ecohome Assessment procedure for one area only and that is pollution that is part of the multi-step procedure. The others being energy, transport, materials, water, ecology, land use and health and well being. GWP is weighed by the insulant gases and EPS scores zero overall [over 100 years], therefore is not a high risk material and can be specified with confidence.
The Green Guide to Specification awards EPS an A+ rating that takes into account all the above criteria.
EPS and Recycling
EPS is one of the few materials that can truly claim to be 100% recyclable, it can be reused in the manufacture of new EPS products, soil improvements, auxiliary compost material, added to other building materials and by fusion and granulation turned into simple products such as coat hangers and pens.
Life cycle analyses have shown that expanded polystyrene has far less of an impact on the environment than other competitive materials for the same use.