Expanded and extruded polystyrene – made in Australia Vs imported
The number of manufacturers in Australia has fallen from 96,000 a decade ago to just under 84,000 last year. However, Professor Peter Gahan of the University of Melbourne says manufacturing remains a significant contributor to Australia’s GDP despite the sector shrinking.
“Taken together, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that Australia’s manufacturing sector has, even in times of decline, continued to be a key source of economic prosperity for Australia – and should continue to do so. In short, it outperformed many other sectors in terms of its contribution to Australia’s sustained economic performance and its ability to generate quality jobs, and still produces around 6.5% of Australia’s GDP.
A 2016 CSIRO report on advanced manufacturing in Australia stated that “Australian manufacturing can and should be a thriving part of the Australian economy through the application of advanced manufacturing technologies, systems and processes. The sector will focus on adding value from pre-production (design, R&D) and post-production (after-sales services), sustainable manufacturing and low-volume, high-margin custom manufacturing.”
The CSIRO report also concluded that opportunities will emerge for companies that embrace the concept of the circular economy, taking responsibility for impacts across the whole of life. Businesses can dramatically improve resource efficiency through waste reduction, recycling, refurbishment and reuse. From energy-efficient products to products designed for recycling, recovery and collaborative consumption.
Good news for Foamex
This all adds up to good news for Foamex. Our Styroboard XPS is the only extruded polystyrene board made in Australia, which means it competes with imported products where you don’t always know what you’re getting.
Australia has strict requirements regarding the type of gas we can use which gives the panel its superior thermal value. Manufacturers in other countries that lack the stringent environmental controls that Australia has can use cheaper hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and ozone depleting substances in the manufacture of their products that offer higher thermal values. high but which are bad for the environment.
Ozone-depleting CFC-11 used by some foreign manufacturers
There are many credible stories online of how certain Chinese manufacturing cities in particular are showing exponential increases in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) found in the atmosphere. For example, a report released last year by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said dozens of Chinese companies were still using CFC-11 to make polyurethane foam.
An investigation by the EIA in China in 2018 seemed to indicate that the country was indeed the source. They discovered that the illegal chemical was used in the majority of polyurethane insulation produced by the companies they contacted. A CFC-11 seller estimated that 70% of China’s domestic sales used the illegal gas. The reason was quite simple: CFC-11 is of higher quality and much cheaper than the alternatives.
Foamex EPS manufacturing is resource efficient
The manufacture of Foamex EPS is resource efficient, as there is little energy used in the manufacturing process, including only a portion of the oil consumption. The process also includes the use of steam, which is collected once condensed and then repeatedly reused. In addition, the manufacture of Foamex expanded and extruded polystyrene eliminates the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are harmful to the ozone layer.
EPS is also recyclable at many stages throughout its life cycle. Foamex has four recycling facilities in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane to serve EPS end users, building and construction sites, civil engineers and contractors, and other EPS manufacturers. By reusing all EPS manufacturing waste, virtually all EPS manufactured at Foamex is used for products. Our state-of-the-art granulation machines reduce molded EPS into beads, which are then reformed into new products.
Your polystyrene insulation experts
Want to learn more about how Foamex can help insulate your home? Contact your local Foamex sales office to discuss your insulation needs. We have been supplying polystyrene solutions to the Australian market for over 35 years and have worked with builders, engineers, architects, designers and specifiers to meet their insulation needs.