Paving the way for a pristine future

Expanded Polystyrene Australia
Sunday, 01 May, 2022

To all homeowners, architects, builders, and innovators we can help reduce CO2 emissions with Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Waffle Pods, the preferred system in slab construction in Australia for the past 30 years, and are here to stay.

Waffle Pods are the best option for the construction of housing slabs, revolutionising and improving traditional concreting methods. A stronger, more cost-effective, quicker, and most importantly sustainable option, being made up of 98% air.

Up to 40% of Waffle Pod materials are made from recycled materials from white goods, fresh produce boxes, and other construction offcuts. Waffle Pod manufacturers only deliver the quantity needed for the slab, collects the offcuts, and recycle what you don’t use, ensuring the product is used in best practice.

The inclusion of EPS Pods in slabs reduces energy consumption, therefore greenhouse gas emissions with their thermally efficient qualities. Including Pods in your slabs allow for reduced use of cement, vastly reducing CO2 emissions. Pods are stable, durable, and inert; non-toxic, they don’t rot (keeping vermin away), produce ozone-depleting gasses, or use chlorofluorocarbons.

Environmentally, the impact is significantly lower when creating a waffle raft which is the result of EPS square blocks once they have been reinforced with steel mesh, and covered with concrete.

When Waffle Pods are used in slabs, less site work is required, reducing foundation cracks, limiting soil disturbance, and reducing waste. EPS has a low water absorption allowing work to continue in adverse conditions, in cooler climates, it provides thermal insulation, in hotter, it limits cracks and with cyclone-proof designs, the slab is sturdy in tropical, storm-prone areas.

Scrap Bag diverts waste heading to landfill

Our industry upholds best practices in the development and delivery of a product stewardship scheme targeting the reduction of expanded polystyrene (EPS) litter from waffle pod offcuts on building sites and the diversion of this material from landfill. The introduction of the Pod Scrap Bag Program has been an industry initiative of Expanded Polystyrene Australia (EPSA) and its Pod Group members.

Scrap bags are supplied with all pod deliveries to building sites to assist with the separation of EPS offcuts from the general waste stream. The filled scrap bags are then collected and taken back to the EPS manufacturer where it can be granulated and recycled in new waffle pods and other building and construction products.

Use of recycled and re-used material EPS pods have become an important part of building concrete slabs, particularly for domestic dwellings. The lightweight and superior compressive strength of EPS pods deliver formwork for slabs that is uniform and consistent with ease, thereby reducing construction time and costs. In addition, the thermal properties of EPS provide significant insulation benefits, making waffle pods popular in new-home construction where concrete slabs are used.

The size of the waffle pod market in Australia is around 7000 tonnes per year. From this, around 600 tonnes of EPS pod offcuts are generated on building sites. It is estimated that where the Pod Scrap Bag Program has been implemented, the collection and recycling rate of EPS pod offcuts is extremely effective — around 90%.

We will continue to work to provide additional information through the EPSA website to expand access to EPS recycling and to make it simple for people to search and find their closest drop-off or even arrange a pick-up where possible.

The journey of a Waffle Pod — from holding food to the fort

It’s no surprise that with our increasingly busy lifestyles, more and more of us are opting for the convenience of home-delivered fresh meals and produce. Lite n' Easy comes directly to your door.

And what makes the products even better is that they are delivered in reusable, lightweight, and thermally superior Australian-made Expanded Polystyrene boxes.

EPS is a lightweight, rigid, plastic foam produced from solid beads of polystyrene which through a steamed expansion process forms a perfectly closed cellular structure. It is 98% air, has excellent shock absorbing qualities, is 100% recyclable, and is thermally superior.

It means these EPS boxes are the top choice for companies such as Lite n' Easy to get their product to their customers in optimal condition. Once the meals are safely at their destination, Lite n' Easy customers simply leave the empty EPS boxes at their door prior to their next delivery.

The box is taken away when the new one is dropped off and goes back to Lite n' Easy to be re-used again and again. The boxes are cleaned and can be re-used up to ten times. Once a box reaches the end of its life and can’t be re-used it is given back to Polyfoam for recycling. The result is another box that can start the cycle of use, re-use, and recycling all over again.

Used EPS boxes are also broken up and reduced to moulded beads and then made into EPS waffle pods.

This cycle of re-use and recycling through the Lite n' Easy home delivery process is a true example of a closed-loop system and demonstrates the circular economy that the EPS industry is proud to be a part of.

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