In Mexico Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Is Used as a Raw Material to Manufacture Photo Frames and Shoe Heels

    In Mexico Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Is Used as a Raw Material to Manufacture Photo Frames and Shoe Heels
    Greg

    7:37 PM EST, December 10, 2021

    EPS is often colloquially called styrofoam, but in fact it's another material.  That's why we won't use this name in the article. EPS is commonly used in a number of industries. It is appreciated thanks to its small weight and insulation properties. However, recycling it is not an easy thing to do.

    Business Insider/youtube
    Business Insider/youtube

    Made of air

    EPS consists of air (98%) and polystyrene. The latter ingredient is a kind of plastic into which air is pumped. And this is how EPS is formed.

    The thing is that EPS is a really hazardous material and it takes ages for it to decompose (according to some estimations even up to a million years). As a result, it should not be dumped and has to be recycled as quickly as possible.

    Business Insider/youtube
    Business Insider/youtube

    The sea of EPS

    Recycling EPS, difficult as it is, is by all means possible. Every year we manufacture enough EPS to fill 700 buildings of the Empire State Building volume (which is 443,2 meters tall).

    A company from Mexico manufactures photo frames which are made of... EPS.

    Business Insider/youtube
    Business Insider/youtube

    The Rennueva company collects EPS and processes it. First it is sorted and then the air content is released. Next a special machine heats the pulp and forms stripes. After they get cooled, granules are formed and they are sold as a raw material to customers. One of them, Marcos y Marcos, uses the granules to manufacture photo frames.

    Business Insider/youtube
    Business Insider/youtube

    Recycling in the Mexican way

    45 EPS cups are enough to make a frame of C6 size. Marcos y Marcos recycle about 6 tones of granules daily.

    marcos y marcos / fb
    marcos y marcos / fb

    At the same time Rennueve company are working on a technology to manufacture plates and cutlery suing recycled EPS the problem, however, is that there are some chemical substances that once released could get into the food.

    Education matters

    Only 5% of Mexican EPS gets recycled. That is why local business wants to educate people to raise the public awareness of the recycling potential of the material. Granules could be used to make shoes, plant pots, hangers or a variety of packaging.

    Business Insider/youtube
    Business Insider/youtube
    What do you usually use EPS for?
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