EPS Nederland is a circular leader
EPS Nederland is a young organization that focuses on the circular collection and processing of EPS (polystyrene foam). The organization was established in 2016 to stimulate and increase the re-use of EPS. Director Henk Bos says the following about this: "EPS is made of polystyrene, is shock-resistant, durable and consists of 98% air. However, it is also a bulky product that many companies are unaware of. For this reason, styrofoam often goes with the bulky waste. We are committed to a national waste management structure, in which we offer a solution for everyone who has EPS residues." With this initiative, EPS Nederland contributes to the transition to a circular economy.
Styrofoam is not waste
EPS is regarded by waste processing companies worldwide as a difficult waste stream. EPS takes up a lot of space during transport, but it weighs little. This makes it unattractive for collection services to collect EPS, because their revenue model focuses on the number of kilos that they carry. The challenge for EPS-Netherlands was to collect, transport and re-use the material in a sustainable way as a raw material. Henk Bos: "In addition to EPS proof trained employees, we have developed a car that can process EPS locally and runs on HVO fuel. This allows us to be CO2 neutral on the road. But it was not the only challenge for us. EPS consists of various ingredients. In the past, the HBCDD fire retardant was added to the product. Nowadays this substance can no longer be mixed with regular packaging. So we have to separate the polluted HBCDD-EPS from clean EPS that we can use in a circular way."
The importance of certification
EPS Nederland: "We need to use raw materials more economically and limit the CO2 emissions globally. We think it is important to connect an independent quality mark to an organization. Such a quality mark proves that the organization operates according to certain standards. In the case of the “Performance Ladder Circular” assessment guideline, we were certified by Kiwa to be able to show to our customers and manufacturers that our processes are guaranteed and independently certified. This means that we only work with pure raw materials that meet the criteria according to the guideline. This is clear to all parties involved, because everyone knows what is expected of them and what requirements the product must meet."
EPS Nederland: "There were no certifications for circular companies yet. We know how to do business and also how to do that green. However, EPS Nederland was less aware of how you can turn waste into an approved building material and how you can guarantee that process. This is why we have asked Kiwa Nederland for help. The cooperation between us went well. After we both expressed our expectations, Kiwa started to work with in an open but critical way. Kiwa has been a sparring partner for us. Someone who thinks along with you but ensures that a company like us remains firmly on the ground. In the end, you will have to do it by yourself and must make the process demonstrable in accordance with the assessment guideline Performance Ladder Circular."
What does the certificate entail?
The Circular Performance Ladder focuses on the design of management systems. The principles of circularity are central and attention is paid to the development of products and services that are in line with this. Henk Bos: "For EPS Nederland, the Circular Performance Ladder certificate is a crown for our hard work. We are a social organization and profit is not our main goal. Of course you have to earn money, otherwise you can’t make any investments. But what makes us distinctive, is that we have a different way of thinking. For us, it is important that we preserve resources and that we won’t deplete the earth. This goes hand in hand with the principles of circularity.“