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Kurtz Ersa Magazine

 
 
 
Plastic

Multiple protection through EPS packaging

Even at the lowest point on earth – the 11,000 m deep Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean – disposable plastic can be detected. The EU Parliament in Strasbourg reacted by banning disposable plastics in order to protect nature and people. Despite all justified criticism of disposable plastics – there are many sensible areas of application for plastics within closed recycling cycles.

Plastics in general – including EPS/Styrofoam – have recently come increasingly under fire from criticism. Environmental pollution, marine pollution, microplastics, lack of recycling and low recycling rates of plastics were the main points of criticism. With the “EU Plastic Strategy”, an EU action programme was launched at the turn of the year with clear targets for the better reuse of used plastics. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is already a highly separately collected and recycled plastic. The obligation to take back packaging when purchasing household appliances, for example, and separate collection points specifically for polystyrene packaging enable a recycling rate of almost 50 percent of all EPS packaging.  

Low consumption, high protective effect

EPS is always easily visible as foam due to its large volume. However, the amount of plastic used is comparatively low due to the low density of the foam. This means: low plastic consumption for many useful products. The enormous protective effect of EPS packaging is often neglected in the discussion. Significantly more food would spoil on its way to the customer if it were no longer transported in well insulating EPS packaging. Consider the overall environmental impact if the damage rate during the transport of household appliances without EPS protective packaging were to increase drastically. Replacement appliances would have to be manufactured and shipped additionally, and the damaged appliances would end up in the garbage.

 

EPS packaging indirectly provides very good services in resource conservation and environmental protection. Biodegradable, “green” plastics decompose in the wild only under special conditions and are not a real alternative to EPS – significantly lower protective effect, dubious decomposition behaviour and a significantly higher price are often the knockout criterion.

 

Closed recycling cycle

Nevertheless, we can all help to ensure that “our” EPS will continue to circulate in the market for a long time to come: Collect all EPS packaging separately and return it to the collection points and take-back points. Everything is recycled so that the cycle is closed to new products from recycled EPS. Circular economy. EPS can do this without any problems – and we can all contribute to it!

 
 

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