The most recommended type of bean bag chairs are those filled with beads made from Expanded Polystyrene (EPS); but Is EPS eco-friendly?
How EPS Affects the Environment
In a Life Cycle Analysis performed by the EPS Packaging Group of the British Plastics Federation, it was established that Expanded Polystyrene materials are environmentally friendly. Results of comparisons of energy consumption, contribution to air and water pollution, manageability of wastes and global warming elements, versus similar attributes of other competitive substances, upheld the EPS as an eco-friendly material.
Organic Composition of Expanded Polystyrene
Styrene – The styrene component of EPS is organic as the substance can be derived from natural products such as strawberries, beans, coffee beans, cinnamon, beer and wine. Extensive research delving on the potential health effects of polystyrene revealed that this chemical is safe for normal use, for having a low level of toxicity. Based on related studies, the EU as well as the UK Risk assessment reports classified polystyrene substances as non-carcinogenic and non-mutagenic.
The styrene liquid is then converted into solid polystyrene, which in turn, will be expanded by adding a chemical substance called pentane.
Pentane – Also occurring in liquid form, pentane can be derived from decomposing vegetables thru the activities of non-aerobic microorganisms. Although possessing low volatility, the use of pentane results to emissions during EPS processing. Nonetheless, pentane emissions do not contain chlorine, one of the substances that make chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), harmful to the earth’s ozone layer.
EPS Production Process
EPS production involves the use of steam from boilers that utilize natural fuel. Manufacture of EPS demands low water consumption, as the process allows for repeated use of water. EPS processing does not result to formation of solid wastes, and any residue or remnants can be reused in another production cycle.
Management of EPS Wastes
EPS Waste Management pertains to how discarded consumer products made from EPS are controlled. Reports show that EPS discards account for only 0.1 percent (0.1%) of Municipal Solid Wastes.
EPS products are recyclable, and small businesses generally carry out recycling activities. Larger organizations put in place policies and recycling scheme that may include the installation of a compacting device. That way, the size of the EPS wastes delivered to recycling depots, was reduced by as much as 40 to 95% of the original size.
Used EPS consumer products that go to landfills will not decompose in ways that release methane and other harmful substances, liable of causing soil degradation and/or atmospheric pollution.
Based on the information furnished by the Life Cycle Report, consumers choosing EPS bean bag chair fillers are assured that stuffing that could spill out from torn seams, are eco-friendly materials. Still, they have to decide on whether to choose the Virgin or the Recycled type.
Which is More Eco-Friendly, Virgin or Recycled EPS?
Actually both Virgin and Recycled EPS are eco-friendly choices. Buying a bean bag chair stuffed with the best bean bag chair filler made of EPS, depends on the frequency of use, and the degree of stress applied on the chair. If the bean bag chair is in frequent use and/or often subjected to intense force created by way of jumping, tossing or heavy weight, the Virgin expanded polystyrene beads pose as better fillers.