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ACH Foam Technologies Rolls Out EcoSix: First 60% Recycled Content EPS Packaging


Date: 05/05/10

ACH Foam Technologies is the first EPS molder in the US to offer 60% recycled content EPS packaging, through its WineLoc wine shipping containers. ACH Foam’s WineLoc packaging uses EcoSix, a recycled molding bead by RAPAC. The first EPS packaging made of 60% or more recycled content, WineLoc offers superior protective performance – making it one of the most efficient packaging materials for the wine industry.

It’s been a long time coming. The public has clamored for environmentally sound packaging products and recycling solutions. EPS manufacturers have banded together to facilitate recycling of EPS with take-back programs as well as corporate recycling programs. Now, with 60% recycled and recyclable EPS wine shipping containers, wine distributors have a strong environmental marketing position to stand on.

According to Ken Adams, VP Marketing for RAPAC, typical EPS packaging has contained either only virgin material or from 10 to 30% recycled content. “That recycled component was post-industrial scrap. An important distinction is that RAPAC’s recycled beads are made of at least 60% reclaimed foam from product that has been diverted from the nation’s landfills,” explained Adams.

No other manufacturer has succeeded in producing EPS packaging with greater than 60% recycled content to date. “There are two key challenges to creating EPS packaging with higher quantities of recycled material,” said Adams. “First is the problem of strength. As you add recycled molding beads to virgin beads, the product loses strength. Secondly, supply of the recycled beads is limited at this point in time.” WineLoc with EcoSix required reinventing the manufacturing and formulation processes.

Effectively manufacturing WineLoc containing 60% recycled content required significant testing and support of industry specialists to achieve a high quality product that provided the protection that virgin EPS packaging has been known for. The initial products struggled to pass drop tests and required fine tuning of the manufacturing process to ensure customers would receive consistently high quality products that met ACH Foam's standards.

Erich Brandt, VP of Sales & Marketing of ACH Foam Technologies said, “EcoSix recycled EPS molding beads have been available for several months through RAPAC, which is the country’s largest recycler of EPS. But the process of molding the recycled beads into packaging that is sufficiently strong took some months of trial and error. The first test products did not pass drop tests because the recycled molding beads would not bond together as well as virgin beads. As a result, the packaging would break apart. Our technicians worked for months to perfect the molding process to bring our recycled EPS packaging up to ACH Foam’s quality standards.”

After months of testing, ACH Foam Technologies' packaging products containing EcoSix have successfully passed ISTA 3A drop tests for 60% recycled content.

Because of limited supply of EcoSix molding beads, ACH Foam Technologies is initially providing only WineLoc packaging products containing 60% recycled content. However, EcoSix is available upon request in limited quantities in other EPS packaging. As ACH Foam Technologies further perfects the manufacturing process, the manufacturer anticipates offering additional packaging products that are made with EcoSix on a regular basis.

ACH Foam Technologies and RAPAC will strive jointly to continuously increase recycled content in EPS packaging, “We’re aiming for as close to 100% as we can get,” said Brandt. “This is round one of an exciting development in environmentally- friendly EPS packaging.”

Environmental Benefits:

• WineLoc 60% recycled wine shipping containers are projected to reduce material introduced into the supply chain by total actual weight of 240,000 pounds annually.

• The high performance protection of expanded polystyrene reduces supply chain waste of goods broken or damaged during shipping and handling. EPS also has superior insulating qualities which protect perishables and fine wines during transit.

• EPS has never contained CFC (chlorofluorocarbon), HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon), HFCs (hydrofluorocarbon) or formaldehyde, which are harmful to the earth's ozone. EPS is inert and does not produce methane gas or contaminating leachates.

• The use of EPS packaging offsets millions of gallons of gas and emissions because EPS weighs half as much as comparable coated paperboard products.

ACH Foam Technologies is a closed-loop manufacturer, recycling 100% of its post-industrial EPS scrap. ACH is actively involved in recycling post-consumer EPS as well. As an Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers (AFPR) Sustainable Partner, ACH strives to facilitate the development of recycling programs and awareness of key performance and environmental issues.

All ACH Foam Technologies locations are drop-off and mail-back facilities for EPS recycling. Ongoing recycling programs can be setup through ACH Foam Technologies with individual businesses.

To order WineLoc wine shippers with EcoSix 60% recycled content, go to www.wineloc.com or call 866-896-1626. For more information about ACH Foam Technologies, visit www.achfoam.com. To learn more about RAPAC’s EcoSix molding bead go to www.rapac.com.

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