What Is Expanded Plastic Waste?
Expanded plastics are used in protective packing material (packing peanuts), as insulation, and for custom formed packaging. Usually made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), expanded plastic is often a one-time-use product that needs to be recycled to protect the environment.
Styrofoam is one of the commonly used expanded plastic formulations, most of which are white in appearance and made of expanded polystyrene beads. Plates, bowls, electronics packaging, and coolers are just a few of the items made of this rigid and lightweight material.
Why Must Expanded Plastics Be Recycled?
While these products are uniquely useful in keeping foods and medical supplies fresh during shipping, as well as providing sanitary, disposable items for many businesses, EPS does not bio-degrade. If it is not efficiently collected and recycled, plastic waste may last virtually forever in a landfill. If burned, it releases harmful chemicals and soot, so expanded plastic waste should always be recycled.
Effectively Reducing the Cost of Recycling Expanded Plastics
There are two ways that a commercial plastic compactor can reduce the cost of managing packaging plastic:
Waste minimization. If the expanded plastic your company handles must be disposed of as waste, compressing the air out of the material can reduce volume by a 50 to 1 ratio. When you pay by volume, the savings is astronomical, while the environmental impact is reduced.
Value to recyclers. When large amounts of sorted EPS can be delivered in compacted blocks, recyclers will offer payment for this reusable material. This not only keeps the Styrofoam out of landfills, it turns a cost of waste management into a break-even or profit scenario for your business.
What Equipment Will Compress Expanded Plastics?
There are some factors that will help our consultants determine the best plastic baler for your particular application. Expanded plastics come in varying densities and shapes, some of which might require a pre-crusher, grinder, or granulator.
Most often we will recommend:
An Industrial Trash Compactor. We offer both vertical and horizontal compactors to support retail facilities, hospitals, and grocery stores. Larger models will serve manufacturing or industrial facilities or waste management stations.
A Vertical Plastic Baler. A vertical baler works well with smaller quantities of material and requires an operator to load and unload the machine. They are versatile and compact, baling not only plastic but cardboard, newspapers, foam, aluminum, or rags.
A Horizontal Plastic Baler. Horizontal models can be customized for unique applications and may be fully automated, not requiring an operator. These large machines handle huge quantities of expanded plastic, paper, shrink wrap, and almost any other recyclable waste product. These machines can turn mountains of materials into compact bales that are easily stacked, stored, and moved.
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