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From Take-away to Ride-away: An Innovative Reuse of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Container

Muhammad Firdaus Abong Abdullah and Mohd Shahril Osman
University College of Technology Sarawak, Sibu, Malaysia

Abstract—Expanded polystyrene (EPS) or Styrofoam container, is a very popular take-away food packaging means for street food vendors in Malaysia. The widespread use of polystyrene however present a number of problems for both human health and the environment as reported in a number of studies. Processing disposed EPS containers are difficult and costly, plus very limited use of recycled EPS material prompted recycling or reuse of EPS to be largely ignored leading to persistent accumulation of disposed EPS. Initiatives were taken by researchers from University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) to develop new composite materials from reused EPS containers as lightweight core material for a bicycle frame, and a case study was conducted. Un-used and used EPS containers are collected and bonded to form panels. The layered composite EPS material were analysed to identify its physical and mechanical properties. Mathematical modelling and industrial design methods were applied in designing the bicycle frame prototype. The completed bicycle prototype was subjected to mechanical load test at an engineering testing facility in UCTS to determine the suitability of the sandwich composite structure material for its intended applications where tensile strength, stress rupture, and fatigue limit were measured. Comprehensive analysis of the material bonding and compression were essential to determine the load that the frame can withstand. The case study also showed the potential of financial income gained by the communities involved in the EPS container reuse or recycle activity. This activity can be upgraded into a programme to generate a profitable small or medium entrepreneurship (SME) venture for the local communities by collecting and supplying used EPS containers for the bicycle frame production. 

Index Terms—EPS, Environment, Reuse, Design

Cite: Muhammad Firdaus Abong Abdullah and Mohd Shahril Osman, "From Take-away to Ride-away: An Innovative Reuse of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Container" International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Research, Vol. 8, No. 5, pp. 825-829, September 2019. DOI: 10.18178/ijmerr.8.5.825-829