It is no secret that we see recycled plastics as a resource here at Omachron Plastics. The mountains of plastic that some see as daunting or defeating, we see as an endless supply of consumer products.
We have been featured on 10,000 Changes – an initiative funded by Canadian Geographic, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Recycling Council of Ontario. Typically, we all believe the 3 R’s of recycling are recycle, reduce, and reuse. 10,000 Changes has a goal to change our perspective on those, instead defining the 3 R’s as refuse, replace, and reimagine. We have developed our technology to do just that. We were also recently named Recycling Demand Champions by the Association of Plastic Recyclers.
Reimagining the recycling process has been part of our corporate culture for over ten years. Our technology has been developed with sustainability in mind. We know that the circular economy is driven by utilizing resources to their full potential, and plastic reuse is much more attainable than it has been in the past.
Our extruders have the ability to use post-consumer plastic waste up to ten times that are identical in appearance, and 99.3% as strong as parts made entirely from virgin material. Additionally, the extruders use 90-95% less energy than standard recycling plants, resulting in low operating costs.
Our operation - as seen in our research paper - is to grind and reprocess the material, test the material properties, and then grind and reprocess the material all again. This allows us to understand and determine how many times we can reprocess the material before additives need to be introduced to stabilize the material properties. Reusing plastic mixtures does require experimental development of parts and processes to ensure that the required properties are achieved. We are confident that this is a worthwhile endeavor due to the amount of plastic waste that it diverts from our landfills - ultimately having a very positive effect on the environment. To delve into the scientific research a little further, we are sharing the reactions and properties of the plastics that we are producing from post-consumer plastics.
We thermally heat the materials to a temperature wherein we achieve a plastic flow in at least 15% of the bulk material by weight. In using thermal heating rather than shear heating, we can control temperatures more accurately and we avoid "hot spots", areas where some sheared polymers achieve temperatures which tend to thermally degrade adjacent materials of a low melting temperature. In the plastic flow, the primary melt flow component (15% of the bulk material by weight) achieves a full plastic flow and other materials simply act as "fillers". For example, adding a fiberglass or other non-melting, reinforcing material to the base plastic.
An examination of the surface of the part has shown that the upper surface is composed of almost entirely the primary melt flow component. The filling materials are not exposed to sunlight, air, or significant amounts of water therefore the weathering and aging characteristics are primarily derived from the properties of the outer "shell", which is made of the primary melt flow material.
We typically test the tensile and flexural properties of such mixtures at -40F, +72F, and +140F and we perform accelerated aging tests in an effort to understand the aging and general characteristics of the product made of recycled mixtures. The material after production is visually pleasing and structurally sound.
Statistics Canada reported that Canadian businesses in waste management had revenues of $7.1 billion dollars in 2014. The government spent $3.3 billion to manage facilities, including building new ones to deal with the 2.7kg of garbage that each citizen produces every day. It was also reported that 35,000 individuals were employed full-time within this field.
Utilizing resources such as our extruders can create jobs in manufacturing and simultaneously reduce the environmental impact. We are proud to have been featured yet again and hope that you will join like-minded individuals in making changes to reduce the plastic waste problem in this world!