The typical foam coffee cup and the most common white colored packaging foam is expandable polystyrene foam or EPS for short. This material is related to Styrofoam in chemical makeup but it is produced and formed in a different process. It is generally recycled separately from DOW Styrofoam or other XPS material. EPS can usually be identified by looking for the circular pattern on the surface created by the individual beads that are used to make the molded shape.
EPS is one of the best cushioning materials for protecting products during shipping. While the claims that it is not biodegradable are true, the claims that it is not recyclable are totally false. EPS foam packaging can be extruded back into solid PS pellets. These can be used to produce many new items in PS plastic including coat hangers, CD cases and picture frames.