Ensuring that recyclable materials are disposed of responsibly is a daily occurrence in most homes, organizations and school campuses. Polystyrene foam products can be some of the items recycled. The EPS Industry Alliance, an advocacy group for individuals and organizations within the expanded polystyrene (EPS) industry, recently released a statement noting that the rate of EPS foam recycling has continually increased over the last twenty-plus years.1 EPS is often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam®, a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company. Foam is the material that makes up the single-use foodservice items consumers prefer, such as hot beverage cups and take-away food containers. According to the EPS Industry Alliance, the rate of EPS recycling rose to 35 percent in the U.S. and Canada in 2013.1This figure represents a total 127.3 million pounds of post-commercial and post-consumer packaging, as well as post-industrial recovery foam that was processed and recycled over the last year.1This report confirms that the rate of recycling polystyrene foam is up roughly 5 percent year-after-year.1 The EPS Industry Alliance notes that consumer and commercial recycling represented a large amount of all recycled foam in 2013, stating, “When comparing rigid, durable polystyrene and other grade materials, EPS post-consumer and post-commercial recycling represent 47% of all post-use polystyrene recycled in the US and is one of the highest within the plastics family.”1 This increased rate reflects the continual growth of polystyrene foam recycling since 1991.1 One could relate the increased recycling rate of foam products to the influx of education regarding the properties of foam when compared to alternatives. For some consumers, there is still belief in the misconception that polystyrene foam is not a recyclable material, and that alternative single-use products are better for the environment. Several recent studies have proved that this is simply not true. Not only are foam items able to be recycled, they also require fewer resources to be produced than most alternatives. An article published by Christopher Bonanos of New York Magazine, notes, “It takes two and a half times as much energy to make a paper cup as it does to make a foam cup. Foam cups are also much lighter than paper cups, reducing the amount of fuel needed to ship them to the store and to cart them away as trash. Foam also produces a lot less manufacturing waste, because there are no paper offcuts to discard.”2 There is certainly more work to be done to educate individuals on the recyclability of polystyrene foam, but the increased rate of recycling within the U.S. and Canada would suggest that consumers are moving toward this understanding. Sources: 1. Recycling International, 2. New York Magazine
Like other plastics, many polyurethane products can be recycled in various ways to remove them from the waste stream and to recapture the value inherent in the material. Most consumers are familiar with recycling plastic bottles and containers at curbside. Polyurethane recycling, on the other hand, usually happens elsewhere—on job sites, in industrial settings, during building demolition—and takes many forms, from relatively simple reuse to breaking down the material into its chemical constituents.
Polyurethane is recycled in two primary ways: mechanical recycling, in which the material is reused in its polymer form, and chemical recycling that takes the material back to its various chemical constituents.
- Rebonded Flexible Foam—Rebonded flexible foam or “rebond” is made with pieces of chopped flexible polyurethane foam and a binder to create carpet underlay, sports mats, cushioning and similar products. Rebond has been used for decades and represents nearly 90 percent of the carpet underlay market in the United States.
- Regrind or Powdering—Sometimes called powdering, regrind recycling takes polyurethane industrial trim or post-consumer parts and grinds them in various ways to produce a fine powder. The resultant powder is mixed with virgin materials to create new polyurethane foam or reaction injection molded (RIM) parts.
- Adhesive Pressing/Particle Bonding—These two recycling processes use polyurethane from various applications, such as automobile parts, refrigerators and industrial trim, to create boards and moldings, often with very high recycled content. Used polyurethane parts are granulated and blended either with a powerful binder or polyurethane systems, then formed into boards or moldings under heat and pressure. The resulting products, analogous to particleboard made from wood waste, are used in sound proofing applications, furniture that is virtually impervious to water and flooring where elasticity is needed.
- Compression Molding—This recycling process grinds reaction injection molded (RIM) and reinforced RIM parts into fine particles and then applies high pressure and heat in a mold, creating products with up to 100 percent recycled content and material properties that can be superior to virgin materials.
- Glycolysis—This process combines mixed industrial and post-consumer polyurethanes with diols at high heat, causing a chemical reaction that creates new polyols, a raw material used to make polyurethanes. These polyols can retain the properties and functionality of the original polyols and can be used in myriad applications.
- Hydrolysis—This process creates a reaction between used polyurethanes and water, resulting in polyols and various intermediate chemicals. The polyols can be used as fuel and the intermediates as raw materials for polyurethane.
- Pyrolysis—This process breaks down polyurethanes under an oxygen free environment to create gas and oils.
- Hydrogenation—Similar to pyrolysis, hydrogenation creates gas and oil from used polyurethanes through a combination of heat and pressure and hydrogen.
Polyurethane Foam Recycling is Viable
The opportunity to generate additional revenues while eliminating costly waste removal has caught the attention of many home furnishings manufacturers, foam fabricators, carpet installers and other converts of flexible polyurethane foam. An easy product to recycle, flexible polyurethane foam scrap is now generating revenue for many end-users. The flexible polyurethane foam industry has made great strides in technology and end-use applications to address waste problems. By providing a “snapshot” of the opportunities for recycling in 1994, this bulletin is intended to assist manufacturers, production engineers, distributors, retailers, carpet installers, and others in the position to recover flexible polyurethane scrap. The following information examines the economic and environmental value of recovering and reusing scrap foam, with information on how your scrap can be used to generate revenue, offset raw material cost, and alleviate solid waste deposal problems. Continue reading
Holiday shopping is upon us, and whether they do it in the stores or online, Americans are going to buy an absurd number of appliances, electronics, gizmos and gadgets in the run-up to Christmas.
With those gifts will come millions of pounds of packaging. While the cardboard box encasing your flat screens and Vitamixes typically can be recycled, the protective packaging foam (commonly known as “styrofoam”) that keeps those goodies snug usually can’t. As a result, most foam ends up in a landfill or, even worse, in the ocean.
Michael Stewart, co-founder of Sustainable Surf (a San Francisco nonprofit), discovered this sad reality over years of participating in California beach clean ups. Tired of seeing this type of plastic trash in and around the ocean, Stewart and Sustainable Surf’s other co-founder Kevin Whilden started the Waste to Wavesprogram, which aims to recycle styrofoam packaging back into new products — most notably, surfboards. Continue reading
Application of Polyurethane Foam Compactor
Polyurethane foam compactor is mainly used in electric appliances recycling center that has tons of rigid PU foam from dissembled refrigerators. Another source of rigid PU foam is teared down workshops that made of sandwich panels.
Polyurethane Foam Compactor
How the Polyurethane Foam Compactor Works
Operator throws PU scraps into the machine hopper. The pre-breaker breaks the foam blocks into smaller flakes. An auger compactor presses the foam into compacted logs. Operator stacks the logs onto pallets.
Features of Polyurethane Foam Compactor
* Compacted PU foam blocks by ratio of 16:1 to 20:1;
* Achieves the capacity in the range of 200 kg/h to 500 kg/h;
* Equip with a pre-crusher;
* Cooling device so as to avoid polyurethane foam melting;
* Nitrogen filling mouth. Dilution of flammable gas inside, meanwhile dissipation of heat;
* Two exhaust ports. To exhaust flammable gas, which will hinder the PU foam forming;
* Customization for options of different feeding length, width.
Technical Specifications of Polyurethane Foam Compactor
|Motor power kw
|Feed hopper size mm
|Out feed size mm
|Machine size mm
|Machine weight kg
All Foam is not Created Equal
Density, measured in pounds per cubic foot, is the key property for determining flexible foam performance.
The firmness of the foam does not determine its quality, price or durability.
Density relates to the comfort, support and durability properties of the foam.
Adding cheaper foam additives or fillers can alter density. Additives are used to make a cushion feel heavier and more luxurious, or to improve the support, but they may have a negative effect on other foam properties, including tear strength, air flow and durability. Continue reading
Why EPS foam a better packaging material than paper?
When choosing packaging materials, the following factors must be taken into consideration: thermal insulation performance, shock absorbing ability and environmental impacts.
The most apparent advantage of EPS foam over the cardboard is that its insulation performance is better. During the same time of 10 minutes, the paper cup losts twice as much heat as that in a foam cup. To protect people’s hand from the hot beverages, the paper cups must be two-layered or use some kind of wrap. Hence, the paper containers are bigger and heavier.
On the other hand, it is reported that, based on the life cycle analysis, the energy consumption and environmental impacts of EPS foam packaging is better than cardboard packaging as is shown in the following pictures.
Foam is recycled and provides environmental benefits compared to spring mattress units. Many materials are difficult to recycle. Some simply don’t produce a valuable recycled material. Others are difficult to collect and transport. But, flexible polyurethane foam is now being recycled and providing environmental benefits.
Up to 30 percent of all foam can become scrap after cutting and shaping foam in product fabrication. Without recycling this would be a costly disposal problem for foam manufacturers. However, with the development of practical end uses for scrap foam, almost every piece of scrap is recyclable. Continue reading
“Foam” is generally known everywhere but in fact its’ meaning is so wide. According to translation “Foam” means, “expand” or “blow”. There are two kinds of EPS Foams:
1. Expandable Polystyrene(EPS) usually use as packaging for many kind of products such as television, electrical appliances, helmet, ice box, sheet foam and block foam for road construction. Continue reading
Posted in Technology
Tagged PS foam
The first step in the process of constructing EPS foam is puffing the EPS resin. The EPS foam resin is puffed when in the manufacturing process they are places in a closed chamber and uncovered to steam.
At this time the warmth from the steam causes the pentane gasoline contained within every bead to broaden, at which will not be unusual to see the foam filler broaden by as a lot as 30-35 instances the starting size. Continue reading
Posted in Technology
Tagged EPS foam