At isoplus, we would like to help set the course for more sustainable development. We believe that everyone has the right to a future, and in order for that to happen, we all need to take responsibility. It can be done in many ways, but the isoplus’ service department’s decision to recycle their excess plastic material is a step in the right direction to reducing our environmental footprint.
As one of the world’s leading suppliers of pre-insulated pipe systems for district heating and cooling, we work quite a lot with the plastic type polyethylene high density, also called HDPE. We use it as the material for the jacket pipe on most of our pre-insulated pipes and it is also used for our joints and branches, which isoplus’ service department works extensively with.
“We order a lot of specialty products, such as custom-made branches and bends. The pieces we cut off during assembly are 100% pure polyethylene. There is no technique in them – no mastic, no adhesive, no foreign matter. It is perfectly pure HDPE, which the plastic industry can benefit greatly from,” says Jacob Bylov, Service Manager at isoplus.
Although the service department has a constant focus on reducing waste, they cannot help but be left with cut-off HDPE residues. To ensure that these do not end up as a waste of resources and as an environmental burden, we at isoplus have chosen to pass it on for recycling so that the plastic can be useful at other companies.
Focus on minimizing waste in all parts of the value chain
Recycling plastic is more important than ever. As a company, we need to rethink the way we produce and consume our resources if we are to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The amount of waste plays a significant role in the fight for sustainable development. One of the UN’s 17 global goals is to achieve a responsible consumption and production so that we can reduce our environmental footprint. Here, a significant reduction of waste through prevention, reduction, recovery and recycling can and must take place.
In general, isoplus focuses on minimizing waste in all parts of the value chain. Although the recycling of HDPE from the isoplus service department is a relatively small player in the global scale, it is incredibly important to take this step and keep in mind that even small steps make a difference.
“We are thinking about a green future when we recycle the HDPE. It is for the sake of the environment that we do it – because it is not something we make money on,” Jacob Bylov concludes.
Will isoplus’ residual material be made into beer crates or household items?
The process itself works in that isoplus’ joint fitters take their left-over HDPE material back from each project, after which we at isoplus cut the HDPE residual material into smaller pieces and collect it in a container at isoplus’ service department in Hvidovre. When the container is full, the plastic is transported to a recycling company that is responsible for the actual processing.
“The recycling company turns it into granules. To put it briefly, they throw it into a form of advanced meat chops where it is chopped to pieces. That way, they can mix a percentage in a new product and still retain the good features of polyethylene. When that is done, they then sell it as an additive to regular plastic productions,” says Jacob Bylov.
What exactly isoplus’ HDPE residual material is recycled for is difficult to say. In general, HDPE can be used for everything from beer and milk crates, pipes and petrol tanks to toys, packaging and household items. In the conversation about what isoplus’ residual material may be revived as, Jacob Bylov adds that the black color of our HDPE plays a crucial factor.
“Back in the day, it was only something like black garbage bags that you could use recycled plastic for. But now you can use it for everything. The only thing that comes into play is the color of the plastic. Our HDPE is added carbon black to make the casing more resistant to UV radiation. But it also means that it cannot be repainted – it will always stay black.”