Materials analysis

RPS has deep expertise in testing of a wide variety of materials from Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), plastics to foams and also building materials. We are pragmatic in our approach to materials analysis and can help our clients facilitate disposal, reuse or recycling, as required.


We have clients across several industries that require the analysis of complex materials in order to assess and reduce any contamination that may be released from them. This could be during routine use as well as at the end of their lifecycle, in order to facilitate disposal, reuse or recycling.

The materials we test are not easy to analyse and range from plastics to foams, waste products and partially recycled materials that have also inevitably been found to contain unwanted levels of pollutants.

Our analysis of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

RPS has deep expertise carrying out specialist materials analysis of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and hazardous substances listed under the Stockholm Convention and REACH regulations. Materials containing POPs must not be recycled and should be destroyed. These pollutants need to be identified so they can be recovered or separated from the waste stream, which would also minimise the amount of waste earmarked for destruction.

RPS have developed pragmatic methods for the analysis of the initial 12 POPs currently listed in the Stockholm convention. We also analyse chemicals that are currently under review and awaiting inclusion, such as dechlorane plus and C14-C17 chlorinated paraffins.

In the case of insulating materials such as blown foam products, waste processing companies are required to assess the levels of CFCs, volatiles and solvents such as the pentanes in the foam, the recovered blowing agent and also the vacuum oil in the pumps used to recover the blowing agent. Companies carrying out this work are affiliated to the WEELABEX scheme and follow their testing guidelines.

Typical materials analysis we conduct includes:

  • Flame retardants such as BDE, HBCDD in cable and foam insulation materials
  • PCBs in electrical cable, insulation material and waste products
  • Pesticides in recycled products, waste materials
  • Quality control of limonine levels in recycled plastics
  • Analysis of isocyanates in products and packaging (please link to Isocyanates in air and urine)
  • Ethylene Oxide levels in food packaging (link to ethylene oxide in air)
  • Persistent organic pollutants in waste and recycled materials, animal bedding, card and packaging
  • Polichlorinated Naphthalenes and Polychlorinated Terphenyls in waste


plastic particles

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Our credentials

Our laboratories operate to ISO/IEC 17025 and MCERTs standards for more information please refer to our scope of accreditation.

We deliver environmental analysis services using the latest instrumentation in purpose-built facilities located in the UK and The Netherlands. RPS also has an extensive network of partner laboratories worldwide that enables us to receive testing samples from across the globe. We can receive samples not just from our in-house sampling teams but also from other commercial laboratories too.

Our accreditation

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