If you’ve been following the KORE Blog you probably know that EPS is great when used as an insulator, such as cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation or insulated foundation systems. The usefulness of EPS doesn’t just end with insulation – there are many other uses for EPS that you may or may not know about.
One of the main benefits of expanded polystyrene is the versatility of the product. EPS can be provided in loose fill bead form, in large blocks, boards cut to a specific size and just about any shape you can imagine.
In our latest post we’ll take a look at the top 5 reasons why you should choose KORE expanded polystyrene to meet your packaging needs.
1. EPS is great at protecting just about anything you can throw at it
In addition to being extremely versatile, expanded polystyrene is durable and strong. It’s perfect for protecting fragile items that need extra protection. Whether you’re storing product in a warehouse or transporting it to a customer or another location, EPS packaging ensures it’ll stay protected until the product is ready for use. It’s shock resistant with the ability to absorb a high level energy if it’s ever dropped on the ground, or involved in an unintended impact with another object.
Expanded polystyrene is also water resistant. If packaging comes into direct contact with water or moisture its durability and strength is completely maintained, adding an extra level of protection that cardboard and other packaging materials may not be able to provide.
EPS also lasts a long time and is one of the many reasons it’s used as insulation. Products with a long shelf life can stay in EPS packaging without any degradation in performance. It’s resistance to compression also makes it the perfect packaging for items that will be stacked.
2. EPS can be moulded to the shape that you need
What’s the point in packaging items if they aren’t properly protected from damage? Having the versatility to mould expanded polystyrene into the shape needed is one of its main selling points. Custom moulds ensure that products fit snugly, making it less sensitive to any shocks and vibrations that may occur during transportation. Here’s an example of custom mould EPS packaging that’s been used to protect a pharmaceutical product for a number of years:
A strict quality assurance policy ensures that any moulds that aren’t up to the high standard expected are not used. Each mould is individually inspected for damage or structural issues that could cause the product to perform poorly. Material that isn’t up to standard can easily be recycled as part of the manufacturing process or reused for another suitable product made from expanded polystyrene.
Remember, this is the same material used for protection in bicycle helmets. It can safeguard even the most fragile of products without breaking a sweat.
3. No toxic chemicals are used in the manufacturing of expanded polystyrene packaging
Just like insulation, EPS packaging is manufactured from 98% air. Expanded polystyrene is manufactured in three stages:
Pre-expansion of raw material:
Steam is used to expanded the hydrocarbon found in the raw material. Once this material reaches its boiling point it expands 40 to 50 times its original volume.
Once expanded, the polystyrene beads undergo a maturing process to ensure the material reaches a balanced temperature and pressure.
Moulding process for final product:
After the polystyrene beads have matured the material is moulded, again using steam and heat. It may be moulded into a custom shape for packaging, or big blocks that can then be cut into sheets and other custom shapes depending on the needs of the customer.
No toxic chemicals are used at any point during the manufacturing process, including CFCs and HCFCs. This makes expanded polystyrene product packaging entirely safe for food, medications and other products that are consumed. It is also bisphenol a (BPA) free unlike some other hard plastics used to package food products.
As EPS is also used for insulation, it’s thermal properties are perfect for keeping products at the desired temperature – whether cold or hot. Its thermal capabilities ensure that food with expiry dates stay fresh for longer periods of time and help to reduce unneeded waste when compared to other packaging materials.
4. EPS packaging is sustainable and environmentally friendly
A report published by Franklin Associates for the American Chemistry Council and Canadian Plastics Industry Association found that using expanded polystyrene as packaging material was far more environmentally friendly than alternatives such as glass and paper. The use of alternatives could be responsible for up to “4.5 times more packaging weight, an 80 percent increase in energy use and 130 percent increase in global warming potential”.
In contrast, EPS recycling programmes increased to 127.3 million pounds of recycled EPS material compared to 93.7 million pounds in 2013 – a 35 percent increase. This trend appears to be continuing with more major retailers launching EPS recycling programmes years after year. Recycled expanded polystyrene can easily be used to manufacture other useful plastic products and accounts for less than 1 percent of total landfill weight. Responsible recycling also helps keep EPS related pollution out of our local environments.
5. EPS is a cost (and time) effective solution for your packaging needs
Lightweight, durable and versatile, expanded polystyrene can meet the needs of just about any budget. As the manufacturing process is relatively straightforward, waste is reduced for both the manufacturer and the customer, in terms of actual cost, energy usage and time. Turnaround can be quick, especially after custom moulds have been created for the initial product order, reducing prep and manufacturing time for any subsequent orders.
Strict quality assurance protocols reduce waste and eliminate product that will not perform up to expectations. Leftover or damanged material can immediately be recycled and used for other EPS applications. Packaging can be shipped empty or fully assembled on-site, depending on the needs of the client. In addition, the weight of the material reduces transportation costs and related energy demand.
Ensure your products are delivered to customers in the best shape possible. Request a free, no obligation quotation for EPS packaging and see how much you can save in time, money and energy. Have something you’d like to add? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below!