Questions about the effects of EPS on the environment
Having seen the concept of "ecobalance" and the results obtained from studies that have been carried out, we are now going to take another look at the stages of the EPS products' life-cycle and examine in detail all those questions dealing with ecological and environmental considerations. Earlier in this publication, we commented that EPS is obtained from oil just as other plastics are. We could therefore say that EPS consumes part of the natural resource. But to put this into perspective let's consider what happens to this resource, oil, and what part of its consumption relates to EPS. The diagram below shows that the total consumption of oil is accounted for in the approximate following manner: 35% on heating, 29% on transport, 22% on energy production, 7% on various uses and 7% goes to petrochemicals with 4% of that used for plastics. Finally, EPS accounts for about 2% of all plastics so that the percentage of oil used in manufacturing EPS is only 0.1%.
Up to now we have seen that the natural resources used in manufacturing EPS products are minimal though this section's heading does not speak of low resource usage but rather an efficient use.
Let's look at two examples which endorse this efficiency:
• Each lb of oil used in producing EPS insulation panels means a savings of 70lbs of oil for heating fuel used in residences and buildings (calculated over a fifty year period).
- source; APME (1986) The energy content of plastics articles and how plastics save energy -
• Given the lightness of EPS packaging materials and plastics in general, great savings are achieved transporting merchandise in comparison with other packaging materials.
- source; Repsol, A second life for plastics -
After analyzing the evidence presented at this point we can confirm that EPS is a good example of the efficient use of our natural resources.