Why Recycling Expanded Polyethylene and Expanded Polypropylene is Good for Sustainability and Profitability

The demand for sustainable materials, including expanded foam plastics, is pretty evident these days. When recycling foam materials like expanded polyethylene and polypropylene, economical transportation is often a major issue that can make or break a recycling program.

By Chad Plotts

Expanded polyethylene (EPE) and expanded polypropylene (EPP) have become sources for a variety of packaging and energy absorption needs. In most cases, these materials are fully recyclable and even more valuable as recycled commodities. The values for recycled polyethylene and polypropylene recycling codes continue to climb as more and more avenues for these recycled materials are becoming apparent. Environmental debates over plastic materials have driven up the demand to divert these foam materials from landfills. Yet all too often, these fine materials that are in high demand in the marketplace are sent to landfills as waste.

The Case for Expanded Polypropylene and Polyethylene Foam Recycling

Both expanded polyethylene and expanded polypropylene have great potential for recyclability and their present values reflect that. The current global market for polypropylene is expected to reach $133.3 billion by 2023. As for polyethylene, the global market is expected to reach $206 billion by 2023.

While similar to expanded polystyrene (EPS), expanded polyethylene and polypropylene do have distinct differences. One is that they can't be processed in the same manner as expanded polystyrene. Compacting equipment makes it possible for these foam materials to be recycled economically. However, with most expanded polyethylene and polypropylene, you have to keep them compressed during the foam recycling process because of their high memory, or ability to retain their original shape.

Unlike many polyethylene and polypropylene films that can be baled for consolidation to an end-user, expanded/extruded polyethylene foam and polypropylene foams cannot be compressed to ideal densities and retain compression with normal baling equipment.

In order to attain an appropriate compression density for economical transportation during the polypropylene or polyethylene foam recycling process, a foam compactor that is capable of handling these materials must be utilized. Having the appropriate compacting equipment for EPE and EPP recycling will not only provide compression densities that will enable maximum load capacities on a trailer, but will also provide a means of ease in palletizing and /or loading of trailers.

Why You Need a Heger Lion Foam Compactor for Expanded Polypropylene and Expanded Polyethylene Foam Recycling

Heger Lion compactors provide both of the necessary elements to attain compression and ease for palletizing EPP and EPE. Using a foam compactor makes it easier to prepare these materials so they can be transported more efficiently and economically. Companies that utilize these compactors are helping to reduce the amount of EPP and EPE waste that has been going to landfills and providing value that positively affects their business revenues.

Foam Equipment & Consulting Co. Has What Expanded Polypropylene and Polyethylene Recyclers Need to Get the Job Done Right

If you're ready to make your business more sustainable and profitable, we have the equipment you need to ensure the success of your recycling program. From Heger compacting systems to shape molding machines and dewatering equipment, we can connect you with the solutions that match up with your operational goals. For questions or more information about our equipment selection, contact us today.