Foamex is recycling polystyrene and closing the loop
Building product supplier Foamex has upgraded its Bayswater North plant with a recycling machine that allows it to recycle polystyrene more efficiently from its building customers, other industry, and members of the public.
Foamex general manager for Victoria & SA Justin Kelsey says that the plant received a $250,000 upgrade with the installation of a state-of-the-art recycling machine, greatly increasing the efficiency of how the company recycles.
“The machine combines the function of crushing, compacting, and pelletising into one step, reducing manual labour, and increasing the amount of product we can recycle,” Justin says.
Foamex collects scrap polystyrene from several sources including excess product and offcuts from building sites, offcuts from the factory floor, commercial recycling agreements Foamex has with customers such as packaging clients and general public via recycling bins at Foamex plants.
For the building industry, Foamex supplies bags for clean-up on-site and works closely with contractors to pick up unused waste or end-of-use EPS, and transports it safely to Foamex’s manufacturing facility.
With its packaging industry clients, particularly those in food transport, when Foamex delivers its packaging products, the driver also picks up the used polystyrene packaging and brings it back to the plant for recycling.
“We are getting an increasing number of members of the public dropping off polystyrene packaging often used to transport electronic items, at our depots in Victoria and South Australia,” Justin explains.
“We have bins at our depots to drop off the unwanted often bulky clean polystyrene for recycling. We inspect all the packaging to ensure it is free from any sticky tape, food or other contaminants because it needs to be clean for our recycling machine.”
The recycled material is used in the manufacture of polystyrene products that are either expanded or extruded.
Foamex is currently recycling about 450kg of polystyrene per week.
“Minimising our impact on the environment will always be at the forefront of our business. Our environmentally-friendly approach can be seen throughout the organisation – from how we manufacture our polystyrene, recycling offcuts and waste, and working with our customers to ensure unwanted polystyrene is brought back to our facilities for repurposing.
“As an industry leader and long-serving member of Expanded Polystyrene Australia (EPSA), we take our social responsibilities seriously and carefully consider how our business impacts the environment and society. We are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure a more efficient way of doing business.”