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The Effective Use of Recycled Materials for Plastic Pipe



Plastic Pipes Conference Association # 2016 Berlin

John M. Kurdziel, P.E.

Climate change, sustainability, and cost savings are all pointing to one main international need for plastic manufacturing: the effective use of recycled post-consumer materials. One sustainable remediation to this concern is the use of post-consumer materials in an ever growing stormwater management market. Specifically, the opportunity for use of high percentage postconsumer recycled materials in plastic pipe offers a viable solution to plastic waste management concerns in a market with healthy growth potential. The use of 100% post-consumer materials in plastic pipe manufacturing is riddled with numerous challenges for the production of a uniform, high quality product that is cost effective. However, blending post-consumer materials with either virgin resins or high quality post-industrial products provides the best means of achieving these three key international goals. This blending, however, must be targeted to the application of the product, and as such, the key design aspects of each end use for the pipe must be identified. Stress crack resistance, long-term mechanical properties, oxidation and service life all play a part in selecting the appropriate blending characteristics for manufacturing plastic pipe for a specific application. The availability and the consistency of recycled materials create a difficult problem for assessing the acceptability of this material for mass production of high quality products for various applications. The key to this issue is balancing the engineering and service life requirements to the specific end applications, which range from residential landscape drainage products to high end sanitary sewer projects. This paper provides an overview of blending criteria that must be addressed for these applications and the production means of achieving these requirements.

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