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Europe: Experiment proves HDPE can be recycled at least 10 times

ESE World has carried out the first practical experiment to demonstrate that HDPE can be recycled at least 10 times and further processed under controlled conditions.

To find out how often HDPE can be processed, ground and reprocessed in injection molding procedures without fundamentally changing the structure and characteristics of the material, the company established a controlled experimental model at its production facility that enabled virgin HDPE to be reused 10 times.

After each step the material was analyzed in cooperation with external research institutions.

The project was led by ESE’s plastics specialist and scientist Jeanett Köhn, PhD.

The test demonstrated for the first time that the injection molding process and shredding of the plastics have, in principle, no property-altering effects on the material over this entire period of reuse.

With the service life of containers being around 10 to 20 years, this result means that the availability of material for sustainable production from the same recycled plastic is secured for at least 100 to 200 years.

“Decades of developments under production conditions have put us in the position to process and treat recycled material in such a way that the quality of the products is on a par with virgin material,” says Udo Fröhlingsdorf, director of product development & marketing at ESE.

“The findings of this series of experiments now allow us to engage in more targeted research and to develop further future-oriented methods.”