EPS - Expanded Polystyrene | Thermaboards

About Polystyrene | EPS and the Environment

EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) rigid foam, is an economic and lightweight thermal insulation material derived from petroleum in the form of foam, generally white thermoplastic consisting of 98% air and 2% plastic with closed porous structure.

EPS is Non-Toxic and Totally Inert

It contains no Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or Hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs). It is also absent of any nutritional value; no fungi or micro-organisms can grow within EPS.

EPS does not and has never used CFCs or HCFCs in its manufacturing process. Therefore, it does not damage the ozone layer.

The environmental effects of the manufacture of EPS raw material (expandable polystyrene bead) and its conversion to EPS insulation material are small.

Over the life cycle of EPS insulation, the main environmental effects are those of substances released into the atmosphere, principally when the raw EPS is made and when the insulation board is delivered to users.

The main substance is pentane (used as blowing agent), which is released during the conversion of the raw material to insulating board, has a minimal global-warming potential making only a slight contribution to the greenhouse effect.

Once EPS is installed in a building, emission levels are negligible, due in part to the fact that its volume consists of 98% air.

EPS – Health and Safety

EPS presents no dangers to health in installation and use.

  • EPS is non-irritant and rot-proof. Fungi and bacteria cannot grow on EPS and it is insoluble and non-hygroscopic.
  • EPS is also rodent-proof and offers no nutrient attraction to vermin.
  • EPS is not affected by water, thus ensuring that moisture contact will not lead to deterioration of the product or its performance.
  • Cement, lime, gypsum, anhydrite and mortar modified by plastics dispersions have no effect on EPS, so it can confidently be used in conjunction with all conventional types of mortar, plaster and concrete encountered in building construction.

All of this makes it entirely safe in use across all of its construction applications.

EPS is Recyclable

EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) can be recycled if it is recovered without contamination from other materials. Generally, the most beneficial is direct reuse by grinding clean EPS waste and adding it to virgin material during production of new foamed products.

Alternatively, EPS can be melted and extruded to make compact polystyrene, for items such as plant pots, coat hangers and a wood substitute.

Medium toughened polystyrene from which sheets for thermoformed articles, such as trays, can also be made. As part of mixed plastic waste, EPS can be recycled to make, for example, park benches, fence posts and road signs, ensuring the plastic material has a long and useful second life.

Find out more about EPS.

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