EPS meets the challenge. EPS-IA commissioned an extensive EPS Life Cycle Analysis Report conducted by Franklin Associates, Ltd. The report quantifies resource use, taking into account all the benefits, energy costs and emissions to air, water and soil required to produce and manufacture EPS from cradle-to-grave.
The study offers full disclosure of EPS properties and environmental implications. EPS-IA also evaluated the use of alternate shipping material. The study concluded that the benefits of EPS are significant. EPS not only offers a safe, lightweight option for packaging material, but is also a fully recyclable material with low environmental impact.
A life cycle inventory commissioned by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), with assistance from the U.S. EPA, illustrates an important environmental caveat: recyclability and recycled content are not always good predictors of environmental burdens. The study, conducted by Franklin Associates, Ltd., takes a close look at 26 different packaging options to better understand environmental and natural resource impacts. Polystyrene loosefill and molded pulp loosefill were among the void fill materials analyzed. The report concludes that just because a packaging material is easy for consumers to recycle doesn’t guarantee that it has lower environmental burdens, and that high post-consumer content materials are not guaranteed to have lower burdens. The study also determined that a box shipped with polystyrene loose fill requires less energy over its life cycle and stresses that high post-consumer recycled content should not be the primary driver for selecting a packaging material. View the Oregon DEQ study summary, Packaging Options for Shipping Soft Goods in E-Commerce and Catalog Sales, for more details.