Consumers who understand recycling can take EPS out of their recycling bins after hearing that Styrofoam and other foam products are not recyclable. Cities often refuse to accept EPS through recycling because it is not economical for them to process it.
However, this does not mean that expanded polystyrene cannot be recycled. This product can be brought back to life by eps recycling agencies who are able to recycle it. (However, note that even a recycler that processes EPS will not pick up everything made from this material. Things like used food containers and peanut packaging may not be accepted.)
One of the advantages of EPS is that it is very light. This is great for lowering the cost of shipping products packaged in EPS, but inefficient for recyclers to move lighter materials in bulk.
The solution is to seal the EPS, which essentially reverses the expansion process and removes the air that makes EPS lighter. There are several possibilities for this. Recyclers that use EPS first separate it from other materials.
Polystyrene can be fed to the factory to be cut into small pieces, which can then be moved with equipment that compresses the EPS to a fraction of its original size, creating solid blocks of compressed material. The foam can also be heated until it completely melts into a thick paste, which is extruded and formed into blocks by a device called a sealant.