Tasman Insulation is always looking at their plant and processes to see if further improvements can be made in energy efficiency, water conservation and recycling. Pink Batts glass wool insulation is made from over 80% recycled window glass. And now, in another step ahead, they are starting to recycle the packaging Pink Batts comes in.
Pink Batts bags are specialised to contain highly compressed insulation and sustain the handling these bags undergo during the packaging process, transportation and on the building site. The hypothesis was if they could convert their own bags into a form which could be re-used for manufacturing their bags then they would maintain the durability and performance properties needed.
Same strength with less environmental impact
A recycling solution was found working with Convex who produces Pink Batts packaging. The industrial name of bag plastic is polyethylene (PE). Their new recycling process set up with partner Astron Sustainability processed the PE blend into a reusable resin which could be used to produce a similar strength material.
Astron was successfully able to convert their PE waste to reusable resin, which was then used by Convex to produce the customised films for Tasman Insulation. These customised films were tested for physical properties including tensile, tear, slip, puncture, impact, stiffness and seal strength and compared to their regular film structure. The results were amazing. The addition of recycled resin creates some colour variation in bags but it had not affected the overall properties. The tensile, yield and tear strengths of the customised recycled films were similar to the current films used. Tasman Insulation believes they have found a sustainable film option for their Pink Batts bale bags.
Now that Tasman Insulation has put their trial bags into the market, their next challenge will be to maintain the current recycling efforts with the constant stream of clean bale bags to the recycling plant. They are also assessing recycled content percentage to see if they can increase it, keeping scalability and performance in consideration. The most recent bags produced have around 10% recycled resin added.
Earlier this year Tasman Insulation released Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), which provides accurate, independently verified information on the environmental footprint of their manufactured products. They are confident that they have a superior insulation product, but it will never stop them trying to lift their game further when it comes to the environment and to New Zealand.