Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a plastic material widely used for thermal insulation (and in some cases, acoustics) in building envelopes.
So is it possible to recycle it and apply it again in other construction processes? Yes, EPS can be crushed and compacted to be used in the manufacture of new plastic products. But it can also be recycled and live again in the construction of architectural and urban projects in the form of paints and coatings.
The EPS-based paints have been developed by Idea-Tec, a company created in 2014 by two Chilean chemists who wanted to explore technologies for dealing with untreated waste.
After 3 years of research, they came up with a solution that allows between 3.3 to 5.5 kg of EPS to be recycled per tin of paint. The replacement of a virgin raw material with waste avoids the emission of CO2 by 15.3 kg per tin of paint; an environmental contribution that is reflected in the LEED® certification and in the CO2 emission certificate of each painting.
The waste is received at the recycling plant and entered into a machine specially designed for this process. When mixed with various additives, the EPS achieves a having a honey-like consistency that is then used as a raw material for the production of paints. To obtain paints of different technical characteristics, all the processes follow the same process, but the additives and their proportions vary.
Among the products developed are high traffic paints for road demarcation and floor painting that successfully adhere to concrete and asphalt. These can be washed and dried quickly, and can be applied manually or through airless spray systems.
The paints can also be applied on interior walls and as finishing seals for vitrified or cementitious floors, or as waterproofing for masonry, mortar and concrete surfaces.
News via Idea-Tec.