Flame retardant HBCD in polystyrene:


Proper disposal of hazardous substances. Proper treatment of environmentally hazardous substances is both a vital task and a moral obligation.

Equally as vital and morally compelling is the consistent implementation of environmental protection guidelines – both within and across national borders. Although the implementation of directives has thus far adhered to formal requirements, it does not always meet the demands of practice.

The most recent example of this was the reclassification of flame retardant HBCD as “hazardous waste”. The upshot of this was that some 60,000 tonnes of old EPS insulation material would have had to be collected and processed separately every year – a huge logistical effort and cost factor. A nationwide waste disposal crisis was imminent.

Now, those responsible for the crisis have responded. In the future, HBCD will still be permitted to be processed thermally along with with other building site waste at the incineration plant. For now, at least, anyone needing to dispose of old polystyrene is off the hook. Whether this decision is final remains to be seen.

But what exactly is “HBCD”? How safe are we living in buildings insulated with HBCD-containing EPS? How would building owners have been required to dispose of polystyrene panels if the policy had maintained its original stance? What are the heat insulation options for new construction and renovation projects?

For answers to these questions, and for more information on the background facts, keep reading.