A practical test carried out by ESE World BV, a Dutch manufacturer of storage containers, has demonstrated that HDPE can be recycled at "least 10 times and further processed under controlled conditions.”
In a 24 Jan statement, the company said for the past 30 years, it had been using recycled plastics to manufacture its containers, which are used for waste and recyclables storage.
But one question that has remained unanswered until now, said ESE World, was how often HDPE can be processed, ground and reprocessed in injection moulding procedures without fundamentally changing the structure and characteristics of the material.
ESE therefore established a controlled experimental model at its production facility that enabled virgin HDPE to be reused 10 times.
“After each step the material was analysed in cooperation with external research institutions,” said the company,
The project was led by ESE's plastics specialist and scientist Jeanett Köhn, PhD.
“The test demonstrated for the first time that the injection moulding process and shredding of the plastics have, in principle, no property-altering effects on the material over this entire period of reuse,” ESE found.
“The findings of this series of experiments now allow us to engage in more targeted research and to develop further future-oriented methods,” said Udo Fröhlingsdorf, director of product development & marketing at ESE.