Polystyrene (EPS) vs Coolseal



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Coolseal Recycalble Insulated Box

Replacing Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Packaging

Is it possible to successfully replace polystyrene insulated packaging with something that is stronger and 100% recyclable? If so, why might you want to?

Why we use EPS (Expanded Polystyrene)

EPS is light, food safe, relatively inexpensive and insulates very well. We have to use 25mm thick walls because it is brittle and breaks easily. Thinner walls mean insufficient strength. While this level of insulation might be needed in some circumstances, it also may be more than is required for other uses.

Why we shouldn't use EPS Packaging

Recyclability - Although EPS is theoretically recyclable this almost never happens. Because of its bulky nature, freight to a recycling plant is very expensive. To overcome this it can be ground down and compressed however this requires specialist machinery at the unpackers plant or store. In practice very little EPS is recycled (one recycling plant has to cover all of Europe). To make matters worse, EPS can't be safely incinerated because it can release poisons into the atmosphere.

Bulk - Because there is a minimum wall thickness needed to make EPS boxes strong enough for their intended use, many times the walls are thicker than is needed. EPS boxes are used to transport fresh, high value products, often by air. The unneeded wall thickness means less product can travel on each aircraft. For the sake of transport efficiency an insulated box with thinner walls and greater strength is ideal.

Strength - EPS is brittle and easily broken or crushed.

The Coolseal alternative to EPS

Recyclability - Coolseal boxes are made from 100% recyclable polypropylene. They can be easily recycled in most of the world's major economies and they are safe to incinerate if this is the preferred disposal method. 100% recyclable.

Bulk - Coolseal boxes have more insulation per mm of wall thickness than polystyrene. This is because of the patented edge sealing system used to keep air trapped in the packaging. Because the walls are thin there is not the same overall insulation you get with EPS however it is sufficient for a number of purposes. You can get up to 30% more product in an air cargo container using Coolseal.

Strength - Unlike EPS boxes, Coolseal boxes are almost unbelievably impact resistant and their design keeps them from crushing product, even with heavy vertical weight loading.

Can Coolseal boxes replace EPS for every job?

The simple answer is no. At any time when the extra insulation of EPS is needed it should be used. Individual boxes of product being sent by courier is one example of conditions requiring EPS.

When are Coolseal boxes best used?

Coolseal insulated boxes are best used when product is being bulk stacked in an aircraft container or a truck. This lowers the need for super-thick insulation.

Is Expanded Polystyrene all bad?

Both sides of this debate use arguments that are very likely false. The radical environmentalists say that EPS releases benzene (a carcinogen and a key component of EPS). This is not true. EPS manufacturers say their product is readily and commonly recycled and this is not true either.

EPS has it's place and will have it for a long time to come.

The Future

The future lies firmly with recyclable packaging. Already a large supermarket chain in France and Spain is refusing all foods packed in EPS. Whether it's salmon from Iceland or Tuna from French Polynesia it has to be delivered in Coolseal boxes. Several municipalities in France have fines for dumping EPS of about Euro300 for each offence. Paris also has attached large costs to the disposal of EPS in the hope it won't end up in their landfill. In comparison, Coolseal boxes are simply folded down and go straight in the recycling bin.