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Old 08-04-11, 12:23 PM   #1
menaus2
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Lightbulb Recycled Expanded Polystyrene foam board experiment

Hi everyone,

I've recently been toying with the idea of utilizing waste foam packaging and reprocessing it as an inexpensive, high performance insulation material. There is an abundance of the stuff everywhere, especially furniture stores and such and it would make a lot of sense for the energy retrofit plans i have for my apartment units.

Technically speaking, I'm thinking of breaking down the foam forms into smaller pieces (maybe 1in diameter chunks) or beads and laying them down in a panel form made out of scrap wood. I'd then use cans of spray foam to bind it all together.

I'm gonna be doing some small batch experiments, and put the results up soon. Hopefully I can come up with an economical process that scales up nicely. Thats about the extent of it so far, but any suggestions or advice when working with the materials would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 08-04-11, 12:39 PM   #2
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The way these foam boards get their high R value is because they have things other than air trapped in them. When you break them up you release the gasses. There is an article on GBA about taking polyiso scraps, grinding them up and using them as attic insulation. Apparently the R value is almost nothing and it's messy and time consuming. The only way this can work is to actually foam the pieces together without breaking them up. If you're dead set on using EPS you can buy huge sheets of it cut to any dimensions you want at a local plant. Ask around. I'm sure there's one near you.

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