The new board elected by EUMEPS, the association of European Manufacturers of Expanded Polystyrene, represents a considerable broadening of the scope of the organisation’s leadership base. Recognising the importance of reflecting the EPS value chain as a whole, the new EUMEPS board not only includes raw material suppliers and EPS converters, but also recyclers.
Klaus Ries, the new Chair of the EUMEPS Board and Vice President Business Management Styrenics at EPS raw material supplier BASF, hailed the newly reorganised leadership structure, saying that “this makes the EPS industry a front runner in the circular economy as we now encompass the entire value chain.”
EPS is easily recyclable, and it is widely collected for recycling in a number of countries across Europe.“We aim to ensure as close to 100% recycling of EPS as possible, however this requires that EPS waste is collected and sorted correctly. In order to achieve this we need to have recyclers integrated in the EPS Industry so we can close even more loops,” said Vice Chair Jonas Siljeskär, COO of BEWI, whose activities also cover the entire EPS value chain.
With EPS recyclers on the board, the coordination needed to do so will be easier, said co-Vice Chair Harald Kogler, CEO of HIRSCH Servo and owner of EPS recycler Novopol.
EPS, a lightweight foam composed of 98% air and 2% polystyrene is frequently used for insulation purposes in construction and in packaging to transport everything from heavy white goods to fragile medicines. EPS is a resource-efficient material that effectively contributes to Europe’s global objectives of reducing carbon emissions and the effects of climate change.
EPS recycling has fast gained momentum over the past years. A recent project, called PolyStyreneLoop, is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of a large-scale demonstration plant as a closed-loop solution for the recycling of polystyrene insulation foam waste. The project is a collaborative effort by industry representatives from the entire polystyrene foam value chain. The plant, in the Netherlands, will go into operation this June.