Why is Recycling so Hard For Americans?

The United States is last in the amount of plastic materials being recycled of the largest nations.
Most of Europe recycle 50% or more of the post consumer plastic materials.
Is this because American’s are lazy? Or because our leaders don’t seem to know how important it is?
Here is a great example of what can be done with just milk jugs and shampoo bottles:

Industrial Machines Need Empty Shampoo Bottles

Recycled HDPE Transformed into Plastic Lumber

Plastic lumber made of post-consumer recycled HDPE material out performs traditional wood with 50 year warranty. Makes long lasting decks, furniture, docks and more.

Lumber and plastic are clearly completely different materials with completely different structural qualities, however one man and many companies realized that recycled plastic can be transformed into a product that is just as valuable and useful as tradition lumber, producing high density polyethylene plastic lumber.

The virgin grade of HDPE plastic is most often used for milk jugs, plastic bottles, plastic bags, shampoo bottles, laundry detergent containers, and shopping carts.

“[It] is one of the most pervasive plastic types. It has an excellent resistance to chemicals, making it the go-to plastic for detergents and cleaners,” according to Compak Videos.

Recycled HDPE is commonly used to make supplies such as pipes, buckets, supports and of course plastic lumber. It is a material known for being very strong for its weight and exceptional resistance to most solvents, making it a perfect candidate for a lumber alternative. UV additives are added to the recycled HDPE material to allow the plastic lumber to be used outdoors for extended periods of time.

Rutgers Professor Thomas Nosker is the original inventor of plastic lumber. He first thought of the idea over thirty years ago when he was faced with the challenge of what to do with a growing pile of plastic. Nearly twelve years later after a few failed attempts on how to be more resourceful with HDPE plastic Nosker and his colleague, Richard Lampo, eventually came up with a formula that worked.

“We combined HDPE with polystyrene from old Big Mac containers,” Nosker said to Ruetgers News. “At a specific proportion, the blended plastics gained strength because of the way tiny plastic particles interlocked”.

Today Bedford Technology, a recycled plastic products manufacturer, has become the experts in making plastic lumber that is not only produced from post-consumer recycled content, but is authentic looking and durable for any project. Bedford produces three different types of HDPE lumber: SelectForce® (unfilled recycled HDPE), FiberForce® (fiberglass reinforced recycled HDPE lumber), and BarForce® (‘rebar’ reinforced recycled HDPE lumber). Each one of these is unique because of their different level of ability to hold shape and resist damage, with the BarForce® product being the strongest and most rigid.

    “After adding fiberglass reinforcement to produce our FIBERFORCE® plastic lumber products, we take the next step in our product offering by encapsulating full length fiber reinforced polymer rebar to create a high strength recycled plastic commercial grade product,” says Bedford. “Examples where [it] has been used are; retaining walls, pedestrian bridges, guide walls, marine fenders, Wales and piles, etc”.Closed Loop Recycling of HDPE Plastic materials

However companies or individuals should be very careful when buying HDPE lumber because not all suppliers or manufacturers are honest about what they are producing. Not all plastic lumber is the same. For example, recently another plastic lumber manufacturing company claimed that all of their plastic lumber was made of recycled HDPE content. The Federal Trade Commission alleged that those claims were false due to administrative complaints. See FTC claim, “the complaint states, about eight percent of [supplier] products contained no post-consumer recycled content” here.

“The FTC takes environmental marketing very seriously, and works hard to ensure that consumers are not misled when it comes to ‘green’ claims,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in an official FTC press release. “Businesses should consult the FTC’s Green Guides to understand what environmental clams they legally can and cannot make.”

This is an amazing use for recycled household waste, and making a long term product for household use. Read the entire article here for a great insight into the ‘closed loop recycling’ and how if helps the environment.

1 Comment

  1. In Europe, the Governments have made it mandatory that citizens recycle plastics. Perhaps if America would get on board, we could have a much higher recycling rate.

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