TMCnet Feature
April 27, 2020

How plastic can have a redemptive second life

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As the environmental impact of our industries becomes an ever increasing point of concern, industries are called upon to create proactive solutions and measures to face the ever-changing demands. Some of the biggest areas of focus are the handling of water, energy, waste and more specifically the ubiquitous and essential material, plastic.

Because these areas are all integral to production as we know, we are called to make more effective, efficient and conscientious protocols to support a healthy symbiosis between businesses and the environment.

Think circular, not linear

One way in which industries can positively approach this necessity is to adjust their perspectives and seek possibilities where they face a challenge or change. The reuse or recycling of waste, for example, presents an opportunity to turn waste into value instead of the common notion that refuse is the end of the line for the production cycle.

By creating a more circular system instead of a linear one, industries can change the trajectory of their impact. This will allow them to lead by example, instead of being the ones responsible for the bulk of negative environmental upshot.

Technologies that are bringing industries to the future

A technology that has harnessed this concept and applied it to reuse waste material, is the foam densifier that compacts plastic foam such as EPS, EPP, EPE, XPS and PUR. This compacting technology allows companies in the fishing, construction and waste handling industries to turn their foam plastic waste into recycled plastic that can be used to make new materials.

In addition to these benefits, it offers relief in the form of saved space in warehouses with less waste storage and handling. Where before valuable materials such as EPS (or styrofoam) would sit uselessly in landfills marking a financial loss and a serious environmental issue, now they can be converted to financial gain while avoiding their problematic build-up in landfills due to their non-biodegradable properties.

The ripple effect of change

When you consider the compounded effect of even the fuel and energy saved on transportation of waste via trucks to the dump, the significance of an advancement as unassuming as a foam densifier is made apparent. And when multiplied, the difference between sending eight truckloads per week to the dump versus one is undeniable and has an incredible effect not only at the level of the individual company but globally, where landfills and waste storage is involved.

If we can focus on one area or material at a time, the solutions for these challenges can become more manageable. With some innovative thinking and adaptive technologies, industries can take their future into their own hands and become the solution.

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