There have been a number of seemingly attractive articles about the benefits of EPS concrete circulating recently in social media and it appears that it’s a strong contender for the building product of choice in eco-projects.

“Expanded polystyrene (EPS) concrete (also known as EPScrete, EPS concrete or lightweight concrete) is a form of concrete known for its light weight made from cement and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene). It is a popular material for use in environmentally “green” homes. It has been used as road bedding, in soil or geo-stabilization projects and as sub-grading for railroad trackage.

EPS concrete combines the construction ease of concrete with the thermal and hydro insulation properties of EPS and can be used for a very wide range of application where lighter loads or thermal insulation or both are desired.”

There are many mindful proponents of EPS such as Molygran, who provide a balanced view of the benefits and the realities.

Dig deeper and see the likes of Interesting Engineering state, “Polystyrene is found in soft foam insulation as well as many commercial packaging applications. Once used for its intended purpose, the chemical becomes incredibly hard to recycle, and due to its hydrophobic nature and low density, it can cause problems in traditional landfill environments. Through a green perspective, the recycling of polystyrene into concrete keeps the material out of landfills. Aside from having useful insulative properties, the concrete which is traditionally manufactured in various block forms, can hold its weight in small scale construction. Used in exterior walls, the material can severely diminish or eliminate the need for traditional interior insulation techniques.”

So downstream and after the event, the use of EPS in green building construction would seem on balance to be a fair use of an otherwise non-biodegradable man-made substance. However it does beg the question of the original need for the offending material in the first place? 

Do you use polystyrene? Do you need to use polystyrene? Are you being mindful in using a material that likely has a 500 year biodegrade period?

Having considered this article and associated links, how deeply do you know the composition and environmental friendliness of the products, packaging and materials used by and in your business? Can you quantify their impacts and are there suitable, profitable and more environmentally appropriate alternatives not only to the products and materials themselves but also their handling, storage and recycling or disposal? Subscribe now to comment and share your thoughts.