Recycling of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

December 27th, 2008 by Richard Lord

This clean white polystyrene packaging can be reycled in Guernsey (©RLLord)

The States of Guernsey Public Services Department announced on 27 December 2008 that clean, white Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) will be recyclable in Guernsey from the 19 January 2009.

Members of the public will be able to bring their EPS to two bring bank sites: the Longue Hougue temporary waste facility site and the Mont Cuet bring bank site.

These sites will have new large containers to accept EPS.  Only clean, white EPS used in the packaging of electronic, fragile and white goods will be accepted.  This includes white pellets, sheets, and pre-formed EPS.

The States of Guernsey Public Services Department has purchased a German manufactured Strautmann Cut Compact machine, which can compact EPS to 15% of its original volume. The compacted material will be shipped off-island and sold to manufacturers such as Robust Recycled Products who make such items as park benches and seating, outdoor decking, and outdoor posts and fences.

Outdoor seating made from recycled EPS by Robust Recycled Products

Outdoor bench made from recycled EPS by Robust Recycled Products

Surround of raised beds made from recycled EPS by Robust Recycled Products

The Public Services Department estimates that the Mont Cuet landfill receives up to 10 tonnes of expanded polystyrene per month.  Its low density means that this represents a large volume of material that can now be diverted away from the landfill.

Single-use Styrofoam fish boxes (click image to expand ©RLLord)

Polystyrene does not biodegrade and sunlight does not degrade it (photolysis).  It has become increasingly abundant in the environment in recent years as its use has increased.  It is light and easily wind blown.  Small pieces of it turn up in hedgerows and on our beaches.  It is a major component of marine debris.

At the moment this States of Guernsey Public Service Department Styrofoam recycling initiative is for clean white expanded polystyrene (EPS) only.  Clean Styrofoam trays used in food packaging and take-out Styrofoam containers cannot be recycled at the bring banks.

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