Deflated Polystyrene (DPS)
Historically the UK has sent 30% of all its waste to China. However, as of 1st of March 2018, China enacted a ban on the import of all ‘foreign garbage’. This created a huge problem for the UK who didn't have the infrastructure to deal with it's own waste, particularly materials like Expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is a completely recyclable material but is currently not recycled anywhere in the UK. Before the ban, 45% of it was being sent straight to land fill, 10% to Energy from Waste (EFW) and 45% sold by waste brokers to China. However since March 2018 this material has been stockpiled or buried, as we have no domestic processes to deal with it.
Through experimentation I have developed a new recycling process, without the use of heat or pressure, to create Deflated Polystyrene (DPS). This material can be moulded into any shape, so it has many potential applications. Most importantly, it is circular. It can be returned to a malleable form and be remoulded countless times.
Katie May Boyd used this DPS to tell a story of the wider research issues, specifically the politics of waste. The stockpiled rubbish that we’re dealing with is in fact just a symptom of a bigger problem: we have an excess of buying rather than an excess of waste. This is perfectly illustrated by EPS as it is not even a product, it’s the packaging that your product arrives in.
Text submitted by the maker
MA Material Futures, Mayor of London, Nicolas Canal
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