Now the very packaging which Pink® Batts® insulation comes in contains recycled material – and the good news is that recycled material is in fact “used” Pink® Batts® plastic bags.
At Tasman Insulation, we are always looking at our plant and processes to see if further improvements can be made in energy efficiency, water conservation and recycling. Pink® Batts® glass wool insulation is made from over 80% recycled window glass. And now, in another step ahead, we are starting to recycle the packaging Pink® Batts® comes in.
Image 1: PinkFit® installers in Auckland collect their used plastic bags and bring them to the Pink® Batts® Penrose facility for recycling
Our Pink® Batts® bags are specialised to contain highly compressed insulation and sustain the handling these bags undergo during the packaging process, transportation and on the building site.
The hypothesis was if we could convert our own bags into a form which could be re-used for manufacturing our bags then we would maintain the durability and performance properties needed.
Same strength with less environmental impact
A recycling solution was found working with Convex who produces Pink® Batts® packaging. The industrial name of bag plastic is polyethylene (PE). Their new recycling process set up with partner Astron Sustainability processed the PE blend into reusable resin which could be used to produce a similar strength material.
Image 2: At Astron, bags are sorted to ensure they contain no metal or other unrecyclable material
Image 3: Recycled resin beads created at Astron facility from used Pink® Batts® bale bags. These are then bagged up and sent to Convex to be used in production of Pink® Batts® bags
Astron was successfully able to convert our PE waste to reusable resin, which was then used by Convex to produce the customised films for us. These customised films were tested for physical properties including tensile, tear, slip, puncture, impact, stiffness and seal strength and compared to our regular film structure. The results were amazing. The addition of recycled resin creates some colour variation in bags but it had not affected the overall properties. The tensile, yield and tear strengths of the customised recycled films were similar to the current films used. We have found a sustainable film option for our Pink® Batts® bale bags.
Image 4: Slight colour variation in bags with recycled plastic content (on right and left) when compared to the original bag (centre)
Now that we have put our trial bags into market, our next challenge will be to maintain the current recycling efforts with the constant stream of clean bale bags to the recycling plant. We are also assessing recycled content percentage to see if we can increase it, keeping scalability and performance into consideration. The most recent bags produced have around 10% recycled resin added.
Earlier this year we released our Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), which provides accurate, independently verified information on the environmental footprint of our manufactured products. We are confident that we have a superior insulation product, but it will never stop us trying to lift our game further when it comes to the environment and to New Zealand.