EnStyro: Recycling Polystyrene Foam to Create a Better Concrete

Both new and used, expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam is a valuable material with superior properties associated with building and insulation. Unfortunately, significant amounts of EPS foam are wasted each year when not recycled. As a result, David Rhomberg started EnStyro, a small company dedicated to the responsible recycling of EPS foam. Using his experience in particle design, Rhomberg found that EPS foam could be easily repurposed with the help of his EnStyro shredder. 

Unlike other foam recycling machines, the EnStyro shredder does not compress foam.  Instead, the foam is shredded, allowing the material to maintain most of its best properties. The EnStyro shredder’s final product is a fine aggregate with the correct size distribution and shape variation that is required to produce concrete.

New spherical beads (foam that has not been recycled) are currently used in concrete around the world. However, they do not have the surface roughness or shape variation to hold their place in wet concrete.

The shredded EPS foam produced by the Enstyro shredder is an ideal, lightweight concrete aggregate as it blends nicely with wet concrete due to its recycle processing and shape. In addition, when combined with concrete, shredded EPS foam helps greatly reduce the likelihood of mold growth and cracking that can occur as concrete ages.

Although small, EnStyro has a huge vision of a cleaner, more energy efficient planet.  Raw materials such as EPS foam that can benefit communities should not be so readily discarded. EnStyro provides a unique and affordable opportunity to recycle EPS foam while helping to preserve the environment for future generations. 

Thank you to David Rhomberg, EnStyro founder, for sharing his story with us.