Anyone who has ordered furniture that needs to be assembled is probably familiar with expanded polystyrene or EPS. Pieces of foam that soften furniture during transportation are often made from this material. 

Usually used as packaging material because it is light, durable and can be made into any shape. (Technically, it's not Styrofoam, although it's often misunderstood.) EPS recycling at is also used to make many disposable foam products, such as disposable cups.

So EPS is everywhere, but has a reputation for being difficult to recycle. While individual households may not be able to easily recycle EPS waste, companies that make lots of expanded polystyrene have more options.

Polystyrene is a universal plastic polymer. Expanded polystyrene is obtained when polystyrene grains are heated, expanded and pressed into a mold. Manufacturers can make EPS in large blocks or in specific shapes. 

The latter option is used to create foam packaging for delicate items such as electronics and fragile items. For example, a furniture retailer that packs their furniture for shipping to warehouses can use special EPS to perfectly protect each piece during transit. Many other common foam products (such as containers, egg cartons, and packaged nuts) are also made from EPS.

Consumers may confuse expanded polystyrene with styrofoam, which is a trademark of Dow's extruded polystyrene products. You can assume that the foam packaging used to soften commercial packaged products is Styrofoam, even though it is technically EPS. If someone describes an item as made of Styrofoam, they are most likely really talking about EPS.