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2012 Results Reflect Increased Recycling Rate

Many are not aware expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging is recyclable – and is being recycled successfully by businesses and consumers across the United States. The 2012 Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Packaging Recycling Rate Study was conducted by the EPS Industry Alliance (EPS-IA). To better track EPS recycling trends EPS-IA gathers data to measure both post-industrial and post-consumer collection streams. The results reflect a substantial increase in the number of post-industrial pounds recycled based on data received from fifty-one EPS manufacturers and independent recyclers in the United States.  A total of 93.7 million pounds of post-consumer and post-industrial EPS was recycled in 2012.  That’s a huge volume, considering EPS is 98% air. 2010 Recycling Rate Table 1  

Read the Entire 2012 Recycling Rate Report.

As reflected in Table 1, more than 93 million pounds of EPS was recycled during calendar year 2012. This figure includes 36.7 million pounds of post-consumer packaging and 56 million pounds of post-industrial recovery. 

Since 1991, EPS recycling has demonstrated a stable baseline, incremental growth and steady end-use market developments. The growth can be attributed to innovative and sustainable programs specifically geared toward EPS recycling.  Businesses and consumers play a shared role in reducing the amount of packaging material that enters the waste stream by doing their part to recycle.  Through this integrated approach - with everyone doing their part - increased recycling is achievable.

As compared to the 2010 Rate Study, 2012 showed an increased incremental growth in the amount of post-industrial recycling.  This is supported by steadfast reliance on high volume sources and proves the successes of industry recycling efforts in the United States.  Advances in EPS recycling technology, collaborative collection programs and new end-use markets have continued to broaden EPS recycling opportunities.  In addition, the EPS industry fosters ongoing development of new and innovative recycling technologies that will promote further EPS recycling growth.  These inclued recycled content resin and unique volume reduction technologies that are showing great potential.

2010 Recycling Chart

Read the Entire 2012 Recycling Rate Report.