American Recycler News, Inc.


Polystyrene recycling rate shows a steady increase

ACH Foam Technologies stated that the EPS Industry Alliance (EPS-IA) released its 2012 bi-annual recycling report, which shows a steady rise in recycling rates of expanded polystyrene. To better track EPS recycling trends, the association gathers data to reflect both post-residential and post-commercial collection streams. The 2012 results show a modest decrease in the number of post-consumer pounds recycled, and a substantial increase in the number of post-industrial pounds recycled based on data received from 51 EPS manufacturers and independent recyclers in the U.S.

Post-industrial and post-consumer EPS recycling increased from 71.3 million to 93.7 million pounds. EPS post-consumer recycling represents 50 percent of all post-use polystyrene recycled in the U.S. and is one of the highest among all the plastics family. The EPS packaging recycling rate percentage continues to grow steadily.

Mary Burk of ACH Foam Technologies thinks the next step for EPS recycling will be creating more participation among consumers. “The push for increased involvement in take-back programs by commercial and industrial firms has made an impressive impact in EPS recycling. ACH and its partner-members in the association have worked hard to educate commercial customers about take-back programs and initiate creative ways to push the recycling rates higher. We are seeing a good result in the commercial/industrial sector, but now it’s time to elicit a higher level of awareness and increased participation from end-users that will move the post-consumer rates in the same direction,” Burk said.