Recycling Product News Logo

This ad will close in 15 seconds

Toronto pilot project evaluates feasibility of Styrofoam recycling

In partnership with CIF and the CPIA, study looks closely at densification and marketing of curbside collected Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

Output from a machine processing EPS in Toronto.
Output from a machine processing EPS in Toronto.

Company info

5955 Airport Road, Suite 125
Mississauga, ON
CA, L4V 1R9

Website:
plastics.ca/home/index.php

Read more

The Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF), with help from the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), recently funded a pilot project in Toronto to evaluate the densification and marketing of curbside collected Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), commonly referred to by the trade-name Styrofoam. Support for this pilot project builds on previous CIF efforts to identify and overcome barriers to EPS recycling in Ontario. 

The City of Toronto currently accepts EPS as part of its curbside cart-based collection program. This latest pilot project is focused on EPS placed in plastics bags and manually recovered at Canada Fibre's Arrow Road MRF. At the facility, plastic bags of EPS are normally emptied into an MRF bunker, but for the purposes of this pilot, bags were hauled to Toronto's Dufferin Facility for densification using a RUNI SK200 densifier.

Following further sorting at the Dufferin Facility, nine pallets of densified EPS bricks (or blocks of densified EPS) were processed over an eight-day period. A total of 1,750 kg of EPS was densified, with each pallet containing approximately 200 kg of EPS bricks. After distribution of the densified EPS to potential re-processors for evaluation, no viable domestic market could be established for either the densified EPS, or standard baled material, at the existing quality. 

Another CIF Project, completed in 2014, concluded that the net cost to collect EPS curbside in urban centres ranged from $1,500 to $2,800 per tonne. Findings from this new densification pilot project supported the 2014 project conclusions.According to the CPIA, they have been assisting the City of Toronto over the last year by arranging for re-processing of EPS at a facility in Indiana on an as-needed basis. There there is not currently a sales contract in place for acceptance of baled or densified EPS.

Densified, palletized EPS.

At the end of this latest pilot project, a proposal was received by Toronto to accept baled EPS at a competitive cost per tonne. However, the proposal included possible energy-from-waste utilization and the city declined the offer.

While various efforts continue across Canada to seek cost-effective ways to collect and re-process EPS and create a sustainable end market, after almost 30 years, no consistent, reliable and cost-effective option appears to exist for curbside-collected EPS.

Ongoing efforts
Some Ontario municipalities continue to accept white EPS at depots. This alternative approach eliminates curbside collection and MRF processing costs, which can exceed $1,000 per tonne to manage. Even with no collection or MRF processing costs, the hauling costs from depots and fees charged to accept EPS by re-processors are substantial and not feasible for many municipalities. An exception is in the Town of Markham, which has been successful in securing a domestic market (to replace previous export) for its densified depot-collected EPS.

According to the CIF, despite tremendous effort by industry and municipalities over the past decade, EPS recycling remains challenging both operationally and financially. Costs have remained high and markets uncertain. However, post-use EPS remains a product with some significant global demand, for products including building insulation panels and extruded mouldings, in the U.S., Spain and Asian markets, provided strict quality criteria are met. 

Post-consumer resin
An October 2017 report by More Recycling indicates that the demand for Post-Consumer Resin (PCR) foam polystyrene exceeds supply by some 233 percent. Capacity to purchase PCR carries the provision that "price and quality specifications" must be achieved to access the markets. It is this provision that municipalities should weigh carefully before adding EPS to their program, according to CIF. The cost and feasibility of recycling PCR differs dramatically from that of clean post-industrial material and may prove to be prohibitively expensive or impractical for many municipalities to achieve.

With uncertainty surrounding the timing and final material composition of Blue Box Programs under varying individual producer responsibility plans, municipalities in Ontario and around Canada must carefully consider their approach to EPS recycling based on waste diversion goals and individual community economics.

In the meantime, the CIF says the polystyrene industry, through the CIF and the CPIA, is able to assist Ontario municipalities facing challenges marketing their materials.  

Resources relating to current quality specifications are available online at www.plasticsrecycling.org

This article was originally published as a blog by the Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF), and was adapted for publication in the September, 2018 edition of Recycling Product News, Volume 26, Number 6.

More from Plastics Recycling

New mobile processing system designed to make dealing with EPS waste cost-effective

The new Mobile Styro-Constrictor from Brohn Tech LLC, based in Ursa, Illinois, offers complete mobile EPS (expanded polystyrene or "styrofoam") recycling without the need for a costly facility for processing the material.  According to Brien Ohnemus of Brohn Tech, the challenge in recycling EPS has always been in making the process cost effective.  With the Constrictor, it is not only environmentally responsible but economically feasible. 

Avery Dennison collaborates with EcoBlue to divert PET label liner waste from landfills

Global materials science and manufacturing company, Avery Dennison Corporation announces the extension of its liner recycling program to include polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) label liners through its collaboration with EcoBlue Limited, a Thailand-based company that specializes in recycling PET label liner to create recycled PET (rPET) materials for use in other polyester applications.

Commentary: The missing link for plastics

A casual reader of the news is hard pressed to avoid stories about plastic waste. For someone in the waste and recycling industry, it is the trending topic of the past year. New plastic waste partnerships, coalitions and working groups are announced on what seems like a weekly basis, with governments and multinational brands making public commitments to curb reliance on plastics - especially those of the single-use variety. 

​Dem-Con MRF retrofit to be complete this summer with addition of MSS CIRRUS optical sorters

Between summer 2017 and 2018, Dem-Con Materials Recovery in Shakopee, Minnesota retrofitted their single-stream MRF with three new MSS CIRRUS optical sorters for fiber from CP Group. The units increase recovery, improve product quality and reduce sorter headcount on the fiber QC.  A fourth MSS CIRRUS sensor is currently in production and will install this summer.

Carlos Monreal of Plastics Energy first president of Chemical Recycling Europe

At the end of January Chemical Recycling Europe was created as a non-profit organization with the vision of establishing an industry platform for developing and promoting cutting-edge chemical recycling technologies for polymer waste across Europe. The new association aims to deepen collaboration with EU Institutions and develop positive industry-wide relationships throughout the whole chemical recycling value chains in Europe in order to boost specific polymer recycling. According to the new organization, chemical recycling of polymers in Europe will need to develop in order to reach the high level of expectations from the EU politicians.

CPIA reinforces importance of ending plastic waste in the environment

According to the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) the global plastics industry agrees that plastic and other packaging waste does not belong in the environment. One recent step toward solving the problem is the historic formation of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a non-profit organization composed of chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies that has committed $1.5 billion over the next 5 years to collect and manage waste and increase recycling especially in developing countries where most of the waste is coming from. 

EuPC and IK organize 2019 conference “A Circular Future with Plastics”

IK, Industrievereinignung Kunststoffverpackungen, the German association for plastic packaging, and EuPC, European Plastics Converters, are organising together the 2019 edition of the conference A Circular Future with Plastics. The two associations, representing plastics converters both at national and European level, will bring together over 200 participants from across Europe, who will work together during two days of conferences, debates and networking opportunities.

free-paper-airplane

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Canada Fibers​ and Enviroplast form strategic partnership to recycle plastic film

Canada Fibers Ltd. (CFL) and Enviroplast are entering into an exclusive supply agreement to recover and recycle plastic film. According to CFL, the strategic partnership between the two industry leaders is a game changer as the requirement for more Canadian-based plastic recycling solutions has increased following the implementation of China's National Sword policy in 2018 which banned imports of 24 types of waste material, including plastic film.

Circular Polymers new facility to supply chemical recycling industry

In a major advance for industry and the circular economy, a team of recycling industry veterans have formed a new company, Circular Polymers, to supply the chemical recycling industry with consistent, high quality feedstock made from post-consumer carpet and other plastic destined for landfill. Circular Polymers' new facility in Lincoln, California will process some 30 million pounds of carpet per year, with plans to expand further.

New PET food-grade recycling plant in Mexico to feature latest in AMUT washing technology

Indorama Ventures' new recycling plant in Guadalajara, Mexico will be operational in the fall of 2019.  Located at the company's Ecomex JV site, in close proximity to their resin production, the facility will include a new plastics washing plant purposely developed by AMUT Group to cope with the necessity of processing very dirty PET post-consumer, landfill-collected bottles. These bottles require a wet-cold-cleaning technology, which has been incorporated in the operation's de-labeller unit. The AMUT De-Labeller on site removes labels, especially the full body shrink sleeves, improving the bottles' quality to go through subsequent cleaning operations.

TOMRA leads BFR sorting technology presentation at IERC 2019

TOMRA Sorting Recycling presented at the influential International Electronics Recycling Congress (IERC 2019), sharing the company's specialized knowledge of materials recovery from electrical and electronic waste (WEEE). With legislation prohibiting the re-use of plastics containing brominated flame retardants (BFRs), TOMRA discussed how combining the company's near infrared and X-Ray technologies enables the removal of up to 98% of plastics containing BFRs from mixed plastic waste streams. 

Lindner helping Netherlands plastics recycler transform dirty film into high-quality regranulate

Daly Plastics is one of the largest plastics waste processing companies in the Netherlands. At their Zutphen site, Daly Plastics' subsidiary Caroda Polymer Recovery recycles agricultural and packaging films, with the aim to produce regranulates of the same quality as virgin material. Two Jupiter 2200 and four Micromat 2000 shredders from Austria-based Lindner Recyclingtech provide the recovery facility with the ideal particle size.

​Canada Fibers awarded contracts to design, build and operate two technologically advanced recycling facilities

Canada Fibers Limited (CFL) has been awarded two contracts to design, build and operate advanced single-stream post-consumer Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Peel, Ontario.  The Company is constructing an 80 thousand square foot greenfield facility in Winnipeg and is retrofitting the Region of Peel's existing MRF.  Both projects involve advancements to recovery technologies in response to increasingly rigorous quality standards from industries utilizing post-consumer recyclable materials. 

Machinex and Canada Fibers partnership to result in two of the most technologically advanced single-stream facilities in North America

Toronto-based Canada Fibers Ltd. (CFL) is building two single-stream recycling facilities in 2019 that will include the most advanced, high-tech fibre and plastics sorting and recovery systems in Canada. In Winnipeg, Manitoba, a completely new 30-tonnes-per-hour facility (approximately 80,000 square feet) is currently under construction and scheduled to open in the fall. In the Region of Peel, Ontario, the existing Peel Integrated Waste Management Facility MRF, owned by the Region, will be retrofitted for 31.5-tonnes-per-hour capacity, with the updated facility (approximately 85,000 square feet) scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2020. 

free-magazine-subscription

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more

​CarbonLITE selects BHS for next fully-automated post-consumer rPET plant

Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) has been selected to supply the front-end recycling system for CarbonLITE's newest post-consumer recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) plant. BHS also provided the front-end recycling system for CarbonLITE's Dallas, Texas facility, which began production in the fourth quarter of 2017 (shown above). CarbonLITE is one of the world's largest producers of bottle-grade rPET. 

​L'OCCITANE and Loop Industries sign multi-year supply agreement to transition to 100 percent sustainable PET Plastic

The L'OCCITANE Group, a global manufacturer and retailer of natural cosmetics and well-being products with five leading brands, and Loop Industries, Inc., a leading technology innovator in sustainable plastic, announced today the signing of a multi-year supply agreement for Loop branded 100 percent sustainable PET plastic. The agreement will see the L'OCCITANE en Provence brand start to incorporate Loop PET plastic into its product packaging as of 2022, enabling it to increase from its current 30 percent recycled plastic to reach 100 percent in its bottles by 2025 and place the Loop logo on all packaging containing Loop PET plastic.  

​TOMRA Sorting Recycling adds to product support team in North America

TOMRA Sorting Recycling has announced two additions to their North America product support team. Sean Hyacinth has been added as a field service engineer for TOMRA optical sorting equipment, while Kevin Javier Montalvo assumes the newly created position of customer project manager, recycling. Both team members will work directly with TOMRA dealers and customers to strengthen equipment service and project management throughout North America. 

​Wolfgang Schiller appointed CEO of ZenRobotics

ZenRobotics Ltd. has appointed Wolfgang Schiller as the company's new CEO, effective immediately. Prior to ZenRobotics, Mr. Schiller was the Vice President Electronics Industry at KUKA AG, a leading supplier of intelligent automation solutions. According to ZenRobotics, as CEO, Schiller will be responsible for further developing ZenRobotics' business and accelerating the uptake of intelligent robots in waste management. 

Alliance to End Plastic Waste to take on global issue

An alliance of global companies will launch a new initiative to work on solutions to reduce mismanaged plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean. The Alliance will be announced Wednesday, January 16 (9 am ET) during a global, live internet broadcast originating from London, UK.

BASF making products with chemically recycled plastics for first time

BASF is breaking new ground in plastic waste recycling with its ChemCycling project. Chemical recycling provides an innovative way to reutilize plastic waste that is currently not recycled, such as mixed or uncleaned plastics. Depending on the region, such waste is usually sent to landfill or burned with energy recovery. But chemical recycling offers another alternative: Using thermochemical processes, these plastics can be utilized to produce syngas or oils. The resulting recycled raw materials can be used as inputs in BASF's production, thereby partially replacing fossil resources.

free-paper-airplane

Get our newsletter

Learn more

SamurAI sorting robot finding success in the recycling industry

In the spring of 2018, Plessisville, Quebec-based Machinex introduced its new SamurAI sorting robot, which, according to the manufacturer, has since generated a lot of industry interest. Nearly six months after its launch, the response of the market has been very positive and nine robots have been sold to date. The first two SamurAI in Canada have just been installed in Quebec while six more robots will be installed by next year in Canadian sorting centers. Moreover, the company says they continue to have regular requests from customers who are greatly interested in this cutting-edge technology.

Report finds toxic substances in every major U.S. carpet tested

A new report by Ecology Center (EC), Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), and Changing Markets Foundation (CM) reveals the presence of toxic substances in all 12 of the carpets tested that were produced and sold by the  six largest carpet manufacturers in the U.S.: Engineered Flooring (J+J), Interface, Milliken, Mohawk, Shaw and Tandus Centiva (Tarkett). Toxic chemicals detected have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, respiratory disease, heart attacks, strokes, asthma, and immune and developmental health problems in children.

​ISRI's 2018 Industry Yearbook confirms recycling industry resilience in year of change

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) recently announced the release of its seventh annual Recycling Industry Yearbook, providing the most up-to-date information and statistics about the U.S. recycling industry and global scrap marketplace. With a greater spotlight on the industry in the wake of rising trade protectionism around the globe, the publication provides the most comprehensive analysis of where the industry stands based on the most current data compared to previous years. It will also serves as a baseline for years to come based on the new global market realities.

free-magazine-subscription

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more