I have one of those changes for 2021 and it has to do with XPS (Extruded Polystyrene) Rigid Insulation. This is one of those changes that could be very disruptive in the market. Here is the change — the government is mandating that XPS blowing (hydrofluorocarbon HFC-134a) agent be changed to something that is a little safer. The XPS industry has known this has been coming for a long time and has done many things to try and slow it down. They have been successful at getting several reprieves.
Why is there such push back from the XPS Rigid Insulation Industry? Isn’t reducing “harmful” chemicals into the atmosphere and reducing global warming a good thing to help with climate change? It is unless it changes the effectiveness or stability of your product. That is why the XPS industry is fighting so hard. Whether they will admit it or not, this EPA rule change for blowing agents will result in dramatically lowering the XPS product effectiveness.
As mentioned it takes time to sort out all these changes. We do know that the alternative blowing agents will reduce the R-value of the product to be more in line with EPS (Expanded Polystyrene). XPS has always claimed that its R-value is 5R/inch. Some reports have the new XPS coming in at 4.3R - 4.5R per inch. It will be interesting to see if the XPS Industry will be truthful about the R-value change. They have billions of dollars at stake.
The other element is the stability of the product. Will it shrink more? Will it collapse? What happens long-term below grade? Will water affect it differently? What about flammability? Some elements will be seen right away, others may take years to sort out. No wonder the XPS Industry is pushing back so hard. It is a scary time for them. I have even heard rumors of a manufacturer stock piling old formula product to buy more time to figure things out.
With all these changes, what should you do? Not knowing what you are going to get for XPS it is probably wise to use the “Safe Insulation” - Engineered EPS. Yes, it has a lower r-value per inch (4.35R/inch Type IX) than old XPS but you know exactly what you are getting. You know that Engineered EPS Rigid Insulation is safe and stable. (Learn more about Engineered EPS Insulation) For some, the change may mean shifting over to EPS but that maybe a very good change for your business.
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Frequently asked questions. As an industry leader, we feel it is important to share our expertise as well as continue to educate and inform others of Plymouth Foam’s materials capabilities and industry trends.
Within the last few weeks, our industry has been in a negative light regarding the recent New York City ban of Airpop® EPS single-use containers. Store and restaurant owners can no longer use Airpop® EPS containers or packing peanuts. We want to remind our followers that Airpop® EPS is safe for you and your family. Here are a few details for you to read!
There have been many studies completed for different applications of Airpop® EPS. On FoamFacts.com, single-use food service packaging products are more sanitary than reusable china and glassware! Explained on FoamFacts.com, they share the following research; “ Las Vegas found 18 percent of reusable items tested had higher than acceptable bacterial counts. A similar study in Sacramento County found nearly 30 percent of reusable items tested had higher than acceptable bacterial counts. And a third study in Wisconsin discovered that unprotected tables and trays had up to 23 times higher bacterial counts than those with single-use place mats and tray covers.”
In the U.S., the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strictly regulates all food packaging materials, including polystyrene. For every material used in food contact, there must be sufficient scientific information to demonstrate that its use is safe. The FDA has determined that Airpop® (EPS) is safe for use in food contact.
We would like to remind our followers, our Airpop® (EPS) material is made of 98% air and polystyrene does not carry harmful chemicals during use or disposal. Please keep in mind that the material has to be stamped with the #6 PS logo to recycle.
So YES! Airpop® EPS is safe for you and your family!
Reprint From Plymouth Foam