Our contribution to a world in which waste is turned into new raw materials
The collection & recycling of EPP & EPS manufacturing waste at HSV
In this article Albert Visser (Operational Manager at De Vries Recycling) and Jeroen Coppers (Team Leader at HSV Moulded Foams Group) take you through our joint approach to recycling EPP and EPS waste from our production locations and using it to help create a circular economy.
Helping to create a circular economy by turning waste into new raw materials
Jeroen Coppers talks about collecting, recycling and reusing EPP and EPS manufacturing waste. ‘At HSV we are helping to create a circular economy and a world in which waste is turned into new raw materials.
We are aware that we have to use our resources sparingly and expandable plastics, such as EPP and EPS, are too valuable to throw away or incinerate. It is for that reason that HSV’s EPP and EPS manufacturing waste is collected for recycling and reuse.’
Helping to create a circular economy:Jeroen Coppers
‘HSV collects EPP and EPS manufacturing waste for recycling and reuse
so that waste can be turned into new raw materials.’
Team Leader at HSV Moulded Foams Group
EPP or EPS manufacturing waste
‘When we talk about EPP or EPS manufacturing waste this means, for example, shaped components which are produced during a calibration cycle or test shots. The first step to turning this waste into new raw materials takes place in the HSV recycling department,’ Jeroen explains and he adds, ‘First of all we shred the EPS into small chunks or flakes using a shredder. After that these chunks are compacted into manageable bales. As much air as possible is squeezed out of the material, enabling us to reduce the volume by up to about 80%. This makes transportation more sustainable because you’re then transporting as little air as possible.
The EPP waste is ground into granulate and collected in big bags. The full big bags and pallets of bales are then sent to De Vries Recycling to be mechanically recycled into new raw materials, referred to as the regranulate. In this way HSV’s manufacturing waste is given a second life and we are able to help create a circular economy.’
At De Vries Recycling waste is given ‘end-of-waste’ status
As Albert Visser explains, ‘De Vries Recycling enables organisations such as HSV to keep valuable raw materials in the cycle and help create a circular economy. We are specialists in the mechanical recycling of particle foams such as EPP and EPS. We do this by shredding, compacting and extruding. At the moment we are the only recycler in the whole of the Netherlands which the ILT has assessed as being an official R3 facility. This assessment means we can guarantee that waste in our factory gets ‘end-of-waste’ status. In concrete terms this means that the waste we receive leaves our premises as raw material.’
‘We enable organisations such as HSV to keep valuable raw materials in the cycle and help create a circular economy.’Albert Visser
Operational Manager, De Vries Recycling
EPP and EPS recycling are textbook examples of how the circular economy ought to work
‘EPP and EPS recycling are two wonderful textbook examples of how the circular economy ought to work’, Albert asserts and he explains this by saying ‘Both types of plastic are 100% and endlessly recyclable.
Albert at EPP- & EPS-waste
EPP can be reused to make new PP products and EPS can be reused to make new PS products.
When those products reach their end-of-life status, they can be recycled yet again.
That process can continue endlessly, provided the cycle does not become contaminated. This is the approach we should take to other raw materials as well. We have to change the way we think. We only have one planet and it is up to us to use it sparingly.’
‘In addition to this we believe that, when designing a product or packaging, some thought should be given to how recyclable a product or packaging is. In other words whether it is “circular by design”. At De Vries Recycling we believe that the entire chain is responsible for setting up circular processes’, Albert emphasises.
The processing of EPP and EPS waste
The EPP and EPS waste that HSV supplies is first sorted and then processed:
- The material is shredded and compacted into blocks.
- The blocks are then ground up in the extrusion department.
- The ground waste is extruded once again.
(The process involves the following steps: cutting, melting, purifying and dehumidifying).
- The end product takes the form of RE-PS or RE-PP granulate.
- The regranulate is stored in big bags and sold.
RE-PP and RE-PS
Recycled material is used for the production of all kinds of plastic products.
RE-PP is used for, among other things, the injection moulding of shaped components, for example for outdoor furniture or slides. Recycled RE-PS is used for the manufacture of XPS insulation sheets which are used for sustainable housing construction, as well as for the creation of decorative wall frames, ornamental plinths, photo frames, etc.
The environment benefits
It is worth mentioning that EPS can be sieved and ground into small balls (EPS beads). The beads are mixed with new polystyrene beads and used for the production of new EPS shaped components, products and packaging materials. Since these beads have already been steamed, this not only uses less raw material, but also conserves energy. All this effort benefits the environment because the addition of recycled material to the production process considerably improves environmental performance. Adding just 20% recycled content to EPS packaging reduces the total energy consumption by no less than 13% compared to packaging made from entirely new material. That is the sustainable option.
Economic benefit and fewer fossil raw materials
Regranulate can compete with virgin granulate. It has the same properties and the material is often slightly cheaper than its virgin counterpart. So that means there is an economic benefit. However the greatest benefit is, of course, the sustainability performance of the material. When a producer uses recycled materials in its product it means that fewer fossil resources have to be extracted and processed elsewhere.
‘At De Vries Recycling we believe that the current mechanical recycling method is the best way to recycle synthetic foam material types’, explains Albert. ‘It is a clean process during which not a single kilo of plastic is lost. By using energy-saving measures we can reduce our footprint to a minimum. These measures include solar panels, LED lighting, harmonic filters and heat recovery. On top of this it is often the most profitable approach.’
Identifying materials by the recycling logo
EPP and EPS are easy to recognise thanks to the special recycling logo.
You can recognise EPP by the recycling logo 5 and EPS by recycling logo 6.
This means you can immediately see whether you’re dealing with an expandable plastic which can be recycled or a material that fits within the circular economy.
‘We believe the current mechanical recycling method is the best way to recycle synthetic foam material types.’
HSV’s sustainable approach
We only have one planet and we need to use it sparingly. By making smart use of raw materials and resources we can reduce our impact on the environment and that is something HSV is keen to contribute to. You can read more about HSV’s sustainable approach below.
Design, development phase or redesign of your sustainable product
A minimal impact on the environment is something that is taken into account even during the design and development phase, or the redesign of your sustainable product. In addition to being able to opt for a sustainable material and green production techniques, the reuse and simple recyclability of your product are important issues which need to be considered. If you want to reduce your organisation’s environmental impact and the feasibility of your product design or redesign, you should request a feasibility study from the particle foam engineers at HSV. Your request will be kept confidential.
Reduce your ecological footprint
The particle foam engineers at HSV are environmentally aware and take action to reduce the ecological footprint of our organisation and our customers. By designing products efficiently and by reflecting in advance about reuse and recycling we can all make the transition to a circular economy for expandable plastics.
Your products, manufactured sustainably
At HSV your product is manufactured sustainably. When creating the technical shaped components, housings and products made from particle foams we use as few raw materials and resources as possible. Particle foams consist largely of air (95% – 98%). A minimal use of raw materials and resources achieves a maximum result.
Green steam & electricity
HSV’s production facilities use sustainable steam and HSV also runs on green electricity. These are generated by wind energy and solar panels on the roofs of our facilities.
This enables us to do what we are good at, namely develop and produce sustainable shaped components made from particle foams, as well as hybrid solutions, whereby injection-moulded components are entirely integrated with particle foam parts.
Shaped components made from recycled EPP
Sometimes you can choose for part of your product to consist of recycled EPP, provided this meets the quality requirements applicable to the shaped components in question. The particle foam engineers of HSV recommend that you do not use this material in visible parts of the products.
If you would like to find out more about recycled EPP and receive an initial assessment about the feasibility of your sustainable plastic product with EPP recyclate, please request a feasibility study without any obligations. Your request will be kept confidential.
About De Vries Recycling
Grandpa Gerrit de Vries took his initial steps into the recycling market in 1995. Back then he started operations with an EPS press and was soon approached by numerous fish processing companies for the processing of EPS fishing crates. In 2014 De Vries took the following step and started extruding EPS. The EPS is now processed into polystyrene regranulate (General Purpose Polystyrene). This high-quality raw material is sold to the insulation sector. EPS material is no longer supplied to us from the fishing industry in Urk, but from across the globe. These days expandable plastic (EPP) is also recycled at De Vries Recycling.
De Vries Recycling focuses on quality, reliability and long-term partnerships and this vision has enabled the company to become an international player.