GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Picture icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Community and Q&A

Suggestions on the best place to sell used EPS foam insulation?

Martin Fahrney | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

Currently a roofing company I work with is removing two layers of 3.5″ EPS foam from a project in preparation for reroof. There will be approximately 2,000 pieces of 4’x4′ foam with minimal damage and I imagine are completely reusable. I appreciate the collective intelligence of this community greatly. At the risk of sounding like a newb . Does anyone have any suggestions of where to sell this material or other used materials? The project is in Bozeman MT. Far from large markets.

GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.

Replies

  1. User avatar
    Dana Dorsett | | #1

    In sufficient quantities insulationdepot.com would buy it up and truck it to one of their regional warehouse/distribution centers.

    In MA there are a handful of local players who buy & distribute used foam locally. Some are 1-2 man shops, advertizing on the local craigslist, others are a bit bigger and more organized. If your company has space to warehouse it, they might turn it into a nice little side business that way.

    Habitat for Humanity operates a number of used & surplus construction materials stores, but SFAIK it's on a donation basis only.

  2. Dan Kolbert | | #2

    Can't re-use it on your own projects?

  3. Hein Bloed | | #3

    As a company with a waste handling license you know that ozone depleting materials are not " for recycling " or " re-use "?

  4. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Hein,
    Are you implying that in Germany you are not allowed to reuse EPS from a demolition site?

  5. Richard Patterman | | #5

    Call all the green builders in Bozeman and offer them a great deal.

  6. Dirk Gently | | #6

    I purchased some used high density eps for under slab insulation 1.5 yrs ago.
    The guy I purchased it from removed it from a school roof, stored it and sold it off Craigslist.....He had people travel from all over New England to purchase it.
    For me It was cheaper per inch than buying gravel was. Do not underestimate how far people will drive to save a few bucks (or in my case a lot of bucks).

  7. Roger Berry | | #7

    How does one contact you? Is there an off board method of exchanging emails or phone numbers?

  8. Hein Bloed | | #8

    Martin Holladay asks:

    " Are you implying that in Germany you are not allowed to reuse EPS from a demolition site?"

    I'm saying that ozone depleting substances are not allowed to be re-used or recycled.
    That is world standard.

    If these things turn up 'for cheap' or 'for free' then because some cowboy is involved.

    Some flame retardents used in the past for EPS are banned now as well (bromium), not only CFCHs.

    These things should be known to "green builders" and their architects. Mind the cowboys in the trade.

  9. Dan Kolbert | | #9

    They've already been made. What is gained by throwing them away instead of reusing them?

  10. Martin Fahrney | | #10

    I love recycling and have a website in the works. For now if it is OK with the moderators I will post my business email .. wastelessworks@gmail.com This recycled foam business is great for a cowboy recycler trying to save some calories from going to the landfill. This is the second summer in a row where if all goes as planned a few semi loads or ten will be diverted from the landfill. Yes used foam is cheaper and craigslist is a effective way of selling it but it seems people around here on craigslist want the uber deal and that can be tiresome sometimes when you take into the storage and handling as well as some dump costs for stuff that cannot be reused. Thanks for everyones suggestions and comments.

  11. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #11

    Hein Bloed,
    I think you are mistaken about expanded polystyrene (EPS). EPS is not manufactured with any ozone-depleting blowing agents like CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) or HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). The blowing agent used to make EPS is pentane. Pentane does not damage the ozone layer.

    For more information, see:

    Insulation to Keep Us Warm — Not Warm the Planet

    The Ozone Layer and Pentane

    I definitely think that "cowboys" who save EPS from going to the landfill, and who reuse it to insulate buildings, are engaged in an admirable green building practice.

  12. Hein Bloed | | #12

    Dan Kolbert asks:

    " They've already been made. What is gained by throwing them away instead of reusing them?"

    These materials are handled as hazardous waste. And are accordingly made safe, the foam's HCFCs extracted and chemically broken up.
    And the Flour turned into tooth paste, for example.

    By no way these wastes are to be thrown away, they have to be handled and processed by licensed waste handlers.

    --------------

    Martin Holladay writes:

    " EPS is not manufactured with any ozone-depleting blowing agents like CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) or HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). "

    Emphasize "IS" and you're correct. But in the past there was allowed ANY blowing/foaming agent, including CFCs. And we are talking about recycling of old material. Which might have been recycled before, undocumented ....

    Quoting from

    http://www.pharosproject.net/blog/detail/id/58

    "Avoiding damage to the ozone layer, however, has come at a cost. Some of these blowing agents, such as the HFC-134A used in Styrofoam are even more potent global warming gases than the CFCs they replaced, leading to serious questions about the basic efficacy of this insulation to fight global warming, an issue that warrants further attention. "

    There was absolute no control in the past (prior to the year 2000) what sort of foaming agent was used in the manufacturing of EPS.

    About flame retardants at page 25 here:

    http://www.unep.org/yearbook/2010/PDF/year_book_2010.pdf

    Some are banned already, 2 are still allowed to be recycled until 2030 according to this document.
    Put them into the house and you have a 'dead asset' after 2030.
    Like using asbestos fibres for thermal insulation in the 1970s.

    Such a rcycling/reuse is blindfolded , will costs life and health and not save a single Watt of energy because of the high energy costs associated with it.
    There is a very good reason why these things are banned: the usage of these materials is anti-social.

    Mind the greenhorns.

  13. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #13

    Hein Bloed,
    In the U.S., expanded polystyrene is not considered hazardous waste -- for good reasons.

    "Since the 1950s, EPS has always been CFC- and HCFC-free."
    Source: http://www.epsindustry.org/eps-sustainability/green-building-energy-efficient

  14. Hein Bloed | | #14

    Thanks , Martin,
    is there other than advertising material to confirm this?

  15. Dennis Heidner | | #15

    Martin, locally (Bozeman area) there may be several options:

    Habitat for Humanity http://habitatbozeman.org/ <-- the may be able to reuse on projects or resell as used. they might coordinate excess material with habitat organizations in butte, billings....

    You might also try Gary Reysa (Bozeman area phone book) and see if he's interested in using some for experiments he does involving DIY solar thermal projects.

    Some of the idependent hardware/lumber yards might take the stuff for consignment/resale. 3.5" foam works great to set stock tanks on during the winter time to prevent freezing.

    There are multiple Bozeman area architects that design nearly zero, net zero or passivhaus homes. The university has an architecture department and they engineering department has a construction engineering (homes include) program. They may have some student projects that could benefit from material.

    Any idea of the density or brand?

  16. User avatar
    Dana Dorsett | | #16

    Hein: "Avoiding damage to the ozone layer, however, has come at a cost. Some of these blowing agents, such as the HFC-134A used in Styrofoam are even more potent global warming gases than the CFCs they replaced, leading to serious questions about the basic efficacy of this insulation to fight global warming, an issue that warrants further attention. "

    "Styrofoam" is extruded EPS usually called XPS in the US. In Europe XPS is blown with CO2, but in the US it's usually HFC134a or a combination of HFCs, the predominant component of which is HRC134a.

    As Martin points out, EPS has been blown almost exclusively with pentane for quite awhile.

    But XPS is also regularly re-used in the US, which has no program or requirement for disposal without releasing the blowing agents. That said, most of the blowing agent is already gone after 25-50 years of manufacture.

  17. Toni Benevento | | #17

    I'm a shipping manager for a small art gallery and we always need foam to ship oil paintings, sculptures, etc. I'm not sure if this kind of foam would have more harmful effects than the peanuts and packing foam that we buy but if it doesn't i would certainly be looking to purchase used foam at a fair price for our gallery. Any suggestions where I can find some?

Log in or create an account to post an answer.

Community

Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |