In Australia about 45,000* tonnes of expanded polystyrene (EPS) is created and consumed each year.
Much of this EPS is embedded in long-term use (such as waffle pods used in housing construction and engineering/manufacturing components) however, approximately 40% (or 18,000 tonnes p.a) is single-use or short-term packaging that can be recycled after use. We currently only recycle about 27% (or 4,900 tonnes p.a.) of this EPS packaging so there is plenty of opportunity to recycle more.
MWRRG is currently looking at ways to assist industry, businesses and councils in metropolitan Melbourne to recover more EPS packaging and divert it from landfill for reprocessing. You can read about Monash Council's experience incorporating an EPS heat extrusion machine into their transfer centre here.
*Data Source: 2014 National Plastics Recycling Survey, SRU
Polystyrene recycling for residents and small business
Polystyrene packaging can’t be recycled from your kerbside recycling bin, and when thrown in your garbage bin it ends up taking up precious space in landfill, and does not break down.
But residents and small businesses can help the environment by dropping off polystyrene for recycling at locations across Melbourne (please see below). Once collected, your polystyrene will be recycled and re-manufactured into domestic building products.
What is expanded polystyrene?
There are many kinds of foam and plastic packaging. Expanded polystyrene is made by expanding beads of polystyrene plastic (like popcorn) which are then fused together. Expanded polystyrene can be easily identified if the beads of foam can be easily seen when foam is broken.
What can be recycled?
You can recycle all clean white Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) including:
Packaging for small and large appliances
White polystyrene fruit and vegetable boxes
What can't be recycled?
No coloured polystyrene or foam
No meat trays or other similar food packaging
No plastic or foam wrapping
No tape or strapping
No bean bag beans
No peanut shaped loose foam packaging
Household quantities of polystyrene can be dropped off for recycling at the locations below. We recommend you contact the facilities prior to drop off to check addresses, opening hours or if fees apply. (The Boroondara and Moonee Valley centres only accept polystyrene from their council residents).
648 Riversdale Road, Camberwell
12 Old Geelong Road, Brooklyn
380 Ferntree Gully Road, Notting Hill
188 Holmes Road, Aberfeldie
515 Riddell Road, Sunbury
Last updated: 04/07/2017