EPS Extensively Recycled Worldwide

New research reveals that EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) is extensively recycled around the globe. With recycling rates exceeding 30% in North America, 40% in Europe, and over 50% in Japan, China, and South Korea, EPS meets the criteria established by the United Nations Environmental Programme.

EPS recycled in 35 countries

Globally, 4.2 billion people in 34 countries have the ability to recycle EPS. This makes EPS the third most recycled packaging material in the world. This is a noteworthy achievement considering less than 2% of all produced packaging material is EPS.

EPS is not just 100% recyclable

In the circular economy, it is not enough for a product to be 100% recyclable. What’s equally important is that recycling actually takes place. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an influential international organisation, advances and promotes the circular economy concept by collaborating with businesses, policymakers, and academics. It, alongside the United Nations Environmental Programme, insists that the recyclability of packaging must be demonstrated ‘in practice and at scale’. Based on new data, it’s confirmed that EPS is not only recyclable but it is also being recycled on a large scale.

Seeking circular solutions and aiming to reduce your company’s CO2 footprint?

A network of collection companies, sorters and recyclers is ready to recycle your EPS.  Visit our Recycle Directory for a collection of addresses in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. We hope that this resource will help make it convenient for you to recycle your EPS and contribute to a more sustainable future.


Stybenex, IVH & EPSbranchen launched EPS Cycle

Stybenex (the Dutch EPS Association), IVH (the German EPS Association), and EPSbranchen (the Danish EPS Association) are proud to announce the launch of EPS Cycle, a new initiative set to transform EPS (expanded polystyrene) recycling across Europe. On July 5th, EPS Cycle was introduced, marking another milestone in the industry’s commitment to the circular economy.

EPS Cycle represents a unified pan-European take-back and recycling system, streamlining the collection and repurposing of used EPS materials for the production of new EPS products. Stybenex, IVH, and EPSbranchen have joined forces to lead this initiative, encouraging other industry players to participate in shaping a sustainable EPS industry.

By effectively managing EPS materials from both the construction and packaging sectors, EPS Cycle aims to establish correct and efficient collection and sorting methods for EPS demolition waste. This will contribute to the reduction of waste and the promotion of circularity within the EPS industry.

The launch event in Copenhagen on July 5th 2023 featured presentations from industry experts. Attendees gained insights into successful EPS recycling practices in Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. Furthermore, the event highlighted global EPS recycling efforts, showcasing how EPS protective and insulated packaging is being recycled on a large scale in accordance with proposed UN criteria.

With the introduction of EPS Cycle, the recycling of EPS construction cutt-offs and waste will become more accessible and streamlined across Europe. The initiative has ambitious goals, aiming to expand its coverage to at least 15 countries by 2025 and over 30 countries by 2030, aligning with the industry’s most progressive take-back systems.

Stybenex, IVH, and EPSbranchen are committed to driving the adoption of circular economy principles within the EPS industry. The launch of the EPS Cycle website www.EPSCycle.org will serve as a valuable resource for individuals and organizations seeking information on EPS recycling locations and best practices.
IVH and Stybenex have achieved a recycling rate for construction site cut-offs of above 60% in Germany and the Netherlands. In Denmark and the Netherlands the recycling rate for EPS packaging exceeds 50%. By combining the knowledge and experience from these three countries EPS Cycle can lead the way and push EPS recycling to new heights.

EPS Cycle: EPS – 100% recyclable – in a closed cycle

The protected trademark “EPS Cycle” (initiated by the German EPS Association (IVH)) makes it clear: EPS insulating materials are 100% recyclable. Anyone who builds their house today and installs EPS insulation can be sure: If you want to remove the insulation material after it has been in use for 50 years or longer (this corresponds to the renovation phase of a house, the insulation material itself lasts longer) EPS can be 100 percent recycled.

Various recycling routes are possible: EPS can be recycled mechanically. The resulting regranulates can be fed back into production. It has been common practice for years for EPS insulation materials to contain a certain proportion of recyclates. These come from EPS packaging waste or from the building sites, because the built-in insulating materials are still in the usage phase. For many years, the EPS converters have been taking back the cuttings left over from the attachment of the EPS insulation.

For the EPS manufacturers, production residues are not waste, but a valuable asset. The production sections created on the cutting lines are automatically collected by belts, pre-crushed, ground and conveyed to a regrind silo by fans.

The EPS Cycle companies thus make an important and demonstrable contribution to resource conservation. Only the members of the German (IVH), Danish (EPS-branchen – en del af Plastindustrien)  and Dutch (Stybenex) EPS Associations are allowed to make use of recycling system EPS Cycle. It is expected that other EU-members will follow soon.

EPS Cycle: focus on the circular economy

The members of the European EPS-associations are aware of their ecological responsibility and recycle EPS in many ways. Under the trademark “EPS Cycle”, which is protected by the national association, it is made clear: EPS insulating materials are 100% recyclable. EPS Cycle is originally from Germany but now also other national organisations are allowed to use this trademark. Denmark and the Netherlands are the first adopters.

EPS Cycle stands for various recycling methods for EPS insulating materials that are already organized and practiced today. For the EPS manufacturers production residues are not waste, but a valuable asset. Producers and recyclers identify the most efficient way of recycling EPS. Clean EPS sections can be returned for reuse or recycling.