EPS at a glance

EPS is a wide­ly used, light­weight foam pack­ag­ing mate­r­i­al that is made of 98% air and is 100% recyclable.

EPS packaging is so light that some call it ‘engineered air’

Invent­ed in 1949 by Dr. Fritz Stast­ny, a sci­en­tist work­ing at BASF in Ger­many, EPS has been used every­where where light weight, shock absorp­tion and insu­la­tion are crit­i­cal, from elec­tron­ics pack­ag­ing to bicy­cle hel­mets and build­ing insulation.

Some of the most impor­tant uses of EPS for pack­ag­ing are fish box­es, elec­tron­ics and white goods pack­ag­ing and med­ical trans­porta­tion includ­ing human organ trans­plants and COVID-19 vac­cines. It is also wide­ly used in bicy­cle hel­mets, children’s car seats and surfboards.

Because EPS is made from just one poly­mer, it is easy to recy­cle into new EPS or oth­er plas­tic products.


The many names of EPS

Depend­ing on where one lives, expand­ed poly­styrene, or EPS, might be known by many dif­fer­ent names.

In addi­tion to sim­ple trans­la­tions– poli­s­tiro­lo in Ital­ian, poli­e­stireno expandi­do in Span­ish, poly­styrène expan­sé in French and geëx­pandeerd poly­styrene in the Nether­lands, EPS is also known as iso­por in Brazil, esfer­ovite in Brazil, by brand names includ­ing Sty­ro­por™, Air­pop™ or Flamin­go™, as well as by descrip­tive names such as engi­neered air, piep­schuim or Qui­etsch­pappe, which means “squeaky pack­age” in German.

What­ev­er you call it, EPS is one of the light­est, most ver­sa­tile and most reli­able pro­tec­tive pack­ag­ing mate­ri­als that exists.

Don’t con­fuse EPS with Sty­ro­foam™ ! Although sim­i­lar to EPS, Sty­ro­foam™ is XPS – extrud­ed poly­styrene – and is made using a dif­fer­ent process, put to dif­fer­ent uses and often sub­ject to dif­fer­ent regulations.


How EPS is made

Expand­ed poly­styrene, or EPS, is a rigid, light­weight, plas­tic foam pro­duced from sol­id beads of polystyrene.

EPS is made by using steam to expand poly­styrene beads that con­tain an expan­sion agent to a rigid cel­lu­lar plas­tic with 40 times the orig­i­nal vol­ume. Then, the result­ing foam is mould­ed into a mul­ti­tude of shapes,  each suit­ed to its spe­cif­ic appli­ca­tion, fur­ther sav­ing resources in the process.

Over­all, EPS is 98% air, with the poly­styrene encap­su­lat­ing the air. This har­ness­es its val­ue as an excep­tion­al prod­uct for insu­la­tion and shock absorp­tion. Its flex­i­bil­i­ty and adapt­abil­i­ty, com­bined with its light weight, are among its most impor­tant qualities.

EPS helps deliv­er many of the things we enjoy in our lives: it is used for fish box­es, and pack­ag­ing for elec­tri­cal con­sumer goods as well as the shock-absorb­ing mate­r­i­al in your bike hel­met. And after its use, EPS is 100% recy­clable and can be reclaimed for var­i­ous pur­pos­es many times over.

These, and numer­ous oth­er qual­i­ties, make EPS a very smart pack­ag­ing product.



Expand­ed Poly­styrene, or EPS, is a wide­ly used plas­tic foam pack­ag­ing and insu­la­tion mate­r­i­al that has proven itself for decades.

EPS was invent­ed by Dr. Friedrich (“Fritz”) Stast­ny, a sci­en­tist work­ing at BASF, in 1949. His inven­tion was patent­ed as Sty­ro­por™ in 1952, a date that marks the begin­ning of the EPS suc­cess story.

Since then, research and con­sis­tent prod­uct devel­op­ment led to the EPS mate­ri­als such as Neo­por and Peri­por, as also for oth­er EPS appli­ca­tions, includ­ing in the con­struc­tion sector.

1949 — By coin­ci­dence Fritz Stast­ny invent­ed the mate­r­i­al EPS dur­ing an exper­i­ment in a shoe pol­ish can at BASF, as he was orig­i­nal­ly look­ing for an effec­tive cable insulation.
1949 — Orig­i­nal shoe pol­ish can from Fritz Statsny. 
1952 — Pre­sen­ta­tion of the new mold­ed parts at the Düs­sel­dorf plas­tics trade show — around 10 times lighter than cork and less expen­sive. The vis­i­tors get an EPS ship as a present. 
1954 — EPS is used as a build­ing mate­r­i­al for the first time.
1959 — Due to its insu­lat­ing prop­er­ties, the pack­ag­ing indus­try dis­cov­ers the ben­e­fits of EPS for food, elec­tron­i­cal appli­ances and musi­cal instruments. 
1959 — The pack­ag­ing indus­try dis­cov­ers the ben­e­fits of EPS (yoghurt cups in EPS).
1959 — EPS fish packaging
1959 — EPS gui­tar box
1960 — Sty­ro­por in con­struc­tion industry
1963 — The video clas­sic “Schaumge­boren” from 1963 illus­trates how prod­ucts made from EPS con­quer the world market.
1963 The video clas­sic “Schaumge­boren” from 1963 illus­trates how prod­ucts made from EPS con­quer the world market.
1968 — Light­weight con­crete made of Sty­ro­por® enters the mar­ket, which was used for frost-proof struc­tures and indus­tri­al construction. 
1997 — Neo­por® — the graphite con­tain­ing evo­lu­tion of Sty­ro­por® is filed for patent, which can achieve even bet­ter insu­la­tion performance. 
2020 — Due to its excel­lent insu­lat­ing prop­er­ties, EPS is used world­wide in the trans­port of vac­cines against COVID-19.