Green Renovation Wave: New Ceresana Study on the Global Market for Expandable Polystyrene (EPS)
Manufacturers and processors of expandable polystyrene (EPS), the bestselling insulation material, are particularly benefiting from initiatives to improve energy efficiency.
Construction Industry is the Main Customer
EPS is a light, strong foam that can be shaped almost at will and is traded under brand names such as Styropor or Airpop. The versatile material consists primarily of air and expanded polystyrene, with the addition of flame retardants and other additives, such as graphite. Although EPS can also be found in safety helmets and life jackets, in beverage cups, casting moulds, and numerous other applications, however, around 53% of its market is accounted for by construction products. The construction industry uses the low-cost insulating material primarily to insulate against heat, cold and noise in new housing construction as well as in the renovation of old buildings. Its competitors are glass and rock wool, but insulating materials based on renewable raw materials are also becoming increasingly popular.
Growing Packaging Demand
Japan and South Korea, for example, also have ambitious climate protection goals with regards to buildings. In Asia Pacific and the Americas especially, EPS is not only used for insulation materials, but is also widely used for packaging, for example for transporting fresh fish or electronic products. The segment packaging accounts for over 40% of the total demand for EPS around the globe. According to the current, already fourth edition of Ceresana's EPS market report, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for around 57% of the global EPS demand in 2020. For China, analysts expect growth rates to remain above average, despite a slowdown in the construction industry. Per capita demand for EPS packaging is rising, particularly in emerging and developing countries.