What is EPS (Expanded Polystyrene)?

EPS, or expanded polystyrene, is a rigid cellular plastic originally invented in Germany by BASF in 1950. It has been used in packaging solutions since 1958. It is 98% air but the rest is made from tiny, spherical EPS beads - themselves made only of carbon and hydrogen.

3 Stage Process
EPS structures are produced through a 3 part process called steam moulding that expands these tiny beads to more than 40 times their original size. This expanding process is precisely timed to determine the size the beads will finally reach. It is this final density of the expanded beads that determines the strength of the structure. After the first stage the beads are left to absorb air for between 24 and 48 hours. In the final stage the freshly expanded beads are poured into individually manufactured moulds where steam and pressure are applied to compress and bond the beads into a final structure of the required strength and density.

"EPS is 100 per cent recyclable and in the UK is currently being recycled at higher levels than either glass or aluminium.

Environmental Issues
Used polystyrene has no impact on the environment even in landfill sites or in incinerators, nor does it contain substances that could pollute the air or soil. Crucially, the manufacture of EPS solutions does not release hydrosoluable substances that could contaminate ground water supplies either.

EPS manufacturing is free of CFCs and HCFC that may damage the ozone layer.