Polystyrene comes in two forms, rigid and expanded. All forms of polystyrene are designated by polymer identification code    CLAW Environmental currently specialises in expanded polystyrene (EPS) but has the capacity to process some forms of rigid polystyrene. Please contact us for further information.

(EPS) – Expanded Polystyrene

The manufacture of EPS starts by adding an expanding agent to the raw bead. When heated, the polystyrene bead expands to form small spherical balls of up to 90% space. Unconstrained expansion results in small beads like those used in bean bags. When the expanding bead is constrained in a mould, the beads expand and bond to each other, forming the closed cellular structure that gives EPS its rigid, tough and insulating properties. Due to the low density of polystyrene, transportation is a major cost of the recycling process. After processing, the densified EPS is loaded into containers and exported for reprocessing into General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS). This material is used in the manufacture of goods such as “faux wood” architraves, decorative mouldings, coat-hangers and picture frames.

Polystyrene Expanded Scrap

(PS) – Rigid Polystyrene

Comes in 2 types

  1. GPPS – General Purpose Polystyrene is clear, hard and brittle – coat-hangers, CD cases.
  2. HIPS – High Impact Polystyrene is a tougher version – yoghurt containers, document trays, some plastic cutlery.
Polystyrene Rigid Trays

Since 2004, CLAW Environmental has been Western Australia’s only official collection centre recognised by the national industry body EPSA (Expanded Polystyrene Australia). Since that time we have been recycling a growing amount of EPS from Perth and surrounding areas.

CLAW Environmental offers a collection service to commercial, industrial and government sites on a regular or on demand basis. Collection fees will apply. Please contact us for information on your collection requirements.

EPS can be dropped off at our yard in Welshpool during business hours, free of charge. Please come through the gate to the office and we’ll take it off your hands.

EPS Drop Off Requirements at the Welshpool yard

  • Please remove labels / tape / contaminates.
  • Food grade polystyrene trays and cups can be accepted, but must be washed and any food residues removed.
  • Coloured EPS can be accepted. Please keep separate from white EPS.
  • Bean bag beans can be recycled, please transfer beans into a plastic garbage bag or similar…we do not want your old bean bag cover….
  • EPS boxes used in garden applications, must have loose dirt removed. Slight discolouration is OK.
  • If small pieces, please contain them in a box / bag so they are manageable when delivered to site.

Alternative EPS Recycling Centres

Many local councils are offering EPS recycling at their recycling centres and transfer stations. Please contact the relevant councils prior to drop off as the different sites do have some requirements specific to the location.

How do I tell if it is EPS?

Other plastics can also be used to make expanded products. Expanded Polyethylene (EPE) and Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) are often used in similar ways to Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).
These materials look like expanded polystyrene but they feel and behave slightly differently. The following table gives a brief guide to the differences and possible identification markings.

Material Touch Flexibility Identification Marks
EPS Dry Not very, breaks when bent 6, EPS, PS
EPE Slightly greasy Very flexible, does not break 4, EPE, PE
EPP Dry Flexible but tough to bend and will break 5, EPP, PP

EPE also comes in sheet form and is used as a wrap or made into bags for protecting furniture and electronic goods in transport.

We currently do not accept EPE or EPP. Look at our Expanded Fact Sheet for further information.