WASHINGTON - On the assertion that environmental stewardship plays a large part in the design of computers, telephones and other electronic products, the Washington-based American Plastics Council has issued ``Designing for the Environment,'' a 38-page booklet for mechanical equipment designers. Included in the guide are suggested material- and cost-efficient designs for standard applications, including plastic fasteners, hinges and removable metal inserts that aid part reuse and recycling.
The guide also lists environmental initiatives affecting product design, including life-cycle assessment and manufacturers' responsibilities.
National and international trade associations and other sources of information also are listed.
Xerox returns to post-consumer
WEBSTER, N.Y. - Xerox Corp. once again is making toner bottles from 100 percent post-consumer high density polyethylene, said Karl Mueller, project manager for Xerox's 3R program at the Webster plant.
As reported in May, Xerox temporarily suspended its plans to use recycled HDPE in toner bottles, because of tight supplies and the decision of Mobil Corp.- a supplier to Xerox - to phase out its recycled HDPE business.
Xerox has since qualified two recycled HDPE suppliers, which Mueller declined to name. In 1994, Xerox used about 500,000 pounds of recycled HDPE.
``The market for post-consumer material has really loosened up a lot in the past few months,'' Mueller said.
Mueller added that many potential suppliers responded to Xerox's dilemma, but there is a limit as to how many the company can use at one time.
``We had a lot of opportunity to look at several additional suppliers,'' Mueller said. ``We're back in business with [post-consumer resin] and the market seems to have stabilized quite well.''
Mueller reported that the toner container return program, activated in April in conjunction with Earth Day, is doing quite well. Xerox provides the cartons and pays the shipping for consumers to return the cartridge toner bottles to a recycling center for recycling and reuse by the company.
``Some return rates are low for some products, but on the other hand, other products are experiencing a higher return than we expected,'' Mueller said.
Returns, he said, are running from 3-28 percent.
Japanese facility to test gasification
KOBE, JAPAN - A major Japanese shipbuilder is planning a pilot plant to test the feasibility of next-generation technology for waste plastics gasification.
Kobe-based Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. is seeking financing from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to carry out the project at the firm's existing manufacturing plant in Kobe. The facility now produces environmental equipment, including garbage incinerators.
If the project is approved, the Japanese government will supply two-thirds of the funds necessary to establish and run a pilot plant that will convert waste plastics into gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane.
Other waste plastics recycling technologies that have been or are being investigated in Japan include methods of converting the waste into liquid, solid and powder fuels.
WTe opens PET bottle plant in Calif.
BEDFORD, MASS. - WTe Corp. has finished the first phase of construction on a previously announced plant for recycling post-consumer PET bottles in Hayward, Calif.
The plant will be able to process 40 million pounds of plastic per year. Total cost of the project is about $6 million, the company said.
The first phase includes debaling, color sorting, contaminant removal and size reduction operations. When the second phase of the project is done, the materials will be washed and pelletized in Hayward.
Until then, the sorted and granulated PET will be processed further at wTe's Albany, N.Y., plant, the company said in a news release.
WTe is based in Bedford. The plant will be operated by personnel of Certified Polymer Processors Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of wTe.