'Enviromart' Solution To Waste Expanded Polystyrene...

12 June 2003

In Auckland, there is a landfill charge of $1000 a ton to dump Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). But waste recyclers in Wellington aim to stop this waste going into landfills and to recycle the EPS material into a new energy efficient building product.

In the Wellington Region thanks to 'Enviromart '(the Wellington Region's Waste Exchange) and Mana Community Enterprises (Employment Trust Operating Poriruas Trash Palace Enviro-Park) and in conjunction with Lanwood Industries (EPS Manufacturers: Palmerston North) and Stevens Products (Wood Chipper Manufacturers: Auckland) this consumer waste product with a life expectancy of 2-3 months from consumer packaging to landfill, will instead be collected and reprocessed into a concrete floor insulation product that aims to keep new Wellington houses warmer.

"Not only do we turn a waste product into a commodity worth one hundred dollars per cubic meter, and create economic benefit for Mana Community Enterprises employment trust, but for every cubic meter of product, we will be creating six square meters of residential concrete floor that has a thermal efficiency of five times that of a standard floor. This results in significant energy savings for the consumer and significant reductions in CO2 emissions for the nation" says Enviromart Co-ordinator Richard Moore.

"That is an incredible 'life-after-waste' for a consumer packaging product."

On Thursday 12 June (1.30pm) at Trash Palace Broken Hill Road Porirua, 'Enviromart' and Mana Community Enterprises are testing a specially developed Portable Expanded Polystyrene regrinder.

Testing a modified wood chipper to regrind consumer packaging into bead.

Developed in conjunction with Stevens Products in Auckland this highly modified wood chipper will knock Waste EPS block from consumer product packaging, back to bead form in a single handed process, so the waste can be economically transported to the Lanwood Industries for processing into concrete floor insulation 'pods'. Available at this test will be examples of the finished product and product literature.

Although the 'Pod' raft flooring system is relatively new to Wellington, it occupies 20% of the Auckland domestic dwelling and light industrial concrete floor market, and Lanwood Industries disposed of their factory's entire EPS waste for a year into the flooring of Wellington's Reading Cinema Complex.

Polystyrene Pod Floor

Consumer packaging applied to a long 'after-life' as floor insulation.

The local regrinding of waste EPS for pods for the Wellington market has not been well received by the Auckland manufacturers of EPS who currently manufacture EPS flooring pods without a consumer waste component. "Instead of the costs of manufacturing new EPS and transporting the pods from Auckland we put this revenue back into local pockets via a viable business model for Mana Community Trust's employment initiative, we also create a local market for one of the most significant alternative flooring technologies to be embraced mainstream in recent years, and we turn a significant landfill issue into a commodity too valuable to landfill."