The future is circularWhy is so much plastic waste incinerated? How can you limit your CO2 emissions by separately sorting EPS and what are the challenges and benefits of switching from linear waste management flows to circular ones? We had a chat with Henrik Ekvall, Managing Director of BEWI Circular, to get the answers to these and a couple more questions.
Do you see any obstacles on the road to increased EPS recycling?
– Yes and the main issue here is to collect the waste. Today, EPS is rarely sorted separately. Instead, it’s dumped together with other combustible materials and incinerated. This is a waste and a blow to the climate fight, as it releases CO2. What we need is increased sorting of all kinds of plastics in order to be able to recycle them. But the sunny part of this is that there aren’t any complicated issues that hinder this development. And we’re working on speeding up this change.
What kind of EPS products are the easiest to collect and recycle?
– Large flows of EPS are the easiest and fish boxes made of EPS is a great example. We work with companies who handle large quantities of fish and set up tailored solutions for them. This often includes installing a compactor at the customer’s site and that we collect the waste material while delivering new fish boxes just-in-time. We’re flexible and always aim to find the optimal solution for our customers. Another example is appliances, for which EPS is used for protection during transport.
And which ones pose a bigger challenge?
– The biggest challenge is when the EPS is contaminated with for example glue or paint or when it isn’t sorted separately. In the construction industry, there is great potential to sort EPS waste separately and we’re eager to help companies shift to a circular approach to their EPS waste management. We have the solutions ready to go and will as I mentioned tailor them to fit each individual company. We want to make the change easy for everyone.
What’s the most important change that needs to happen in order for more EPS and plastic to be recycled?
– Collaboration. Everyone must realise that circularity demands collaboration. We all need each other to meet the challenge of climate change and the targets necessary to halt it. Every resource needs to be reused and recycled and often that means that a product from one industry becomes waste and eventually a valuable resource in a completely different area. We need to find more such flows. We also need to open up and talk to each other to find solutions, partially because of the challenge we’re facing but also because there’s efficiency and money to save and make here.