Prices for virgin polystyrene, polyethylene and polypropylene resins in North American continue to increase. Prices have increased as much as 20% or more since the beginning of 2010. There has also been an increase in products made with recycled PE and PP content. These factors are helping to push up the prices for recycled PP and PE foam logs to very attractive levels. At the recent Plastic Recycling Conference in Austin, TX, we received as many requests from buyers looking for material sources as we did for recycling machinery. It is a good time to take a new look at your EPS, PE and PP foam wastes. The return on investment for a foam compactor may be significantly better than a year ago. We would be happy to assist you in your analysis and put you in touch with material buyers for updated material bids.
In 1988 The Society of Plastics Industry (SPI) developed the Resin Identification Code (RIC) system. The codes were developed to provide a consistent national system to help workers on sorting lines identify post-consumer bottles using the 6 basic packaging resin classes. The RIC system was not intended to imply recyclability. Soon after their introduction, 39 states mandated that bottles and containers be marked with the recycling plastic Codes to assist source segregation at households. This practice introduced the general public to the existence of the Code. States also insisted on having an "OTHER" category. The publics misinterpretation of the Codes, particularly OTHER, has become a serious problem. The 6 basic resin classes (recycling numbers) no longer suffice to meet the needs of recyclers, particularly with regard to new resins and multi-material construction. In 2008, SPI asked ASTM to take ownership of the codes. ASTM agreed and initiated work to convert from the RIC to the ASTM standard format and address various issues using the ASTM consensus's based process. ASTM is composed of 32,000 volunteer members from over 125 countries: consumers, producers design professionals, researchers, and academia. Anyone with interest can participate on the ASTM committees.
ASTM's main focus
- What to do about "7"
- What to do about the Chasing Arrows symbol?
- What defines "1", "2", "3", etc?
- How do we handle multi-material and multi-layer structures?
- Are new codes needed
Some information supplied from astm.org
Over 69 million pounds of EPS were recycled in 2008. In the past decade EPS has achieved an average recycling rate of 12%, one of the highest of the plastics family.
What is made from this recycled EPS?
- More EPS (expandable polystyrene) in several different forms: packaging peanuts, shape molded and block molded
- Picture frames, door and window frames, coat hangers, park benches, flower pots, toys, rulers, stapler bodies, seedling containers, CD and DVD cases
- Mixed with concrete to produce new building products such as prefabricated concrete blocks.
- Co-mingled plastics products such as decking, lumber and interior trim.
- Mixed with soil and compost to promote aeration.
Let us help you in your efforts to recycle EPS and Styrofoam.