Foam manufacturers compete in an environment with increasingly tough standards and regulations. Manufacturing is becoming ever-more challenging in order to reduce the carbon foot print. Therefore also the foam industry needs to move to a circular business model, retaining value through recycling and reusing materials with benefits that come with no cost to the planet.
Quality foam extrusion is already very demanding when using virgin raw materials, and the reuse of recycled plastics represents a real challenge. In the near future will not be enough anymore to reuse only some percentage of in-house recycled foam.
The new goal is not only to have technology able to reuse 100% recycled foam in new products (in-house & externally industrial recycled material), but being able to reuse also Post-consumer recycled plastics (PCR). PCR is reprocessed plastics from households or commercial waste and the majority of which was used for packaging. In Europe, only around one third of collected plastics is currently recycled into new products.
ALEMO’s R&D has been involved in these challenges for more than a year and it has already showed great results with foams produced on ALEMO extruders with up to 15% of PCR content and up to 100% recycled foam in many types of products.