Plastic pallets rival wood, steel models
COLUMBUS, OHIO — Researchers have developed a pallet made of recycled plastic lumber that can hold as much as 10 tons.
The pallet was developed by Battelle Inc. of Columbus, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of Energy and Plastic Lumber Co. of Akron, Ohio.
The pallet was designed to replace wood and steel models, particularly for storing 55-gallon drums of hazardous and radioactive materials. Although more expensive than wood or steel, the plastic pallets can be cleaned and repaired easily. As the number in use increases, the developers expect the cost of the plastic pallets to drop.
``The initial cost is more for the recycled plastic pallet; however, the cost over the life of the product is very competitive when compared with conventional wood or steel pallets. These recycled pallets are also more durable and easier to maintain,'' said Prabhat Krishnaswamy, senior research scientist in Battelle's engineering mechanics group.
Wood pallets absorb chemical and radioactive contamination, and the tubular design of steel pallets makes detecting contamination and cleaning difficult. The wood pallets cannot be repaired and must be discarded at a facility for disposal of low-level radioactive waste.
Battelle, a nonprofit research and development firm, assembles the pallets using traditional nuts and bolts and a metal sleeve so they can be repaired on site. Broken pieces of plastic can be recycled, as can the pallet when it reaches the end of its useful life.
Battelle's design is fabricated from recycled high density polyethylene and commingled plastic waste extruded in lumber dimensions. Michigan State University conducted compression, impact and vibration testing and evaluation before the pallets underwent field tests at DOE's Fernald Environmental Management Project near Cincinnati.
Battelle and the Plastic Lumber Trade Association developed a three-year alliance last year as part of a $1.8 million effort to help the plastic lumber industry.
APC contest rewards creative reuse ideas
WASHINGTON — The second annual National Plastics Reuse It contest, sponsored by the American Plastics Council, will award cash prizes for ingenious and practical ideas to reuse plastics.
``Whether it's an empty soft drink bottle, a plastic grocery bag or the plastic rings from a six-pack, just about every plastic product can be reused for other purposes,'' said Susan Moore, APC vice president of communications.
This year, APC will award $3,000 to the person who submits the 10 most creative and practical reuses of a single plastic item; 10 runners-up will receive $250 each; and the single most unusual reuse idea will be awarded $2,000. The contest also has categories for students in elementary school, junior high school, senior high school and college. The winner of each class category receives $1,000.
Contest rules can be obtained from APC in Washington by calling (800) 777-9500 or visiting its Web site at http://www.plastics resource.com. Entries must be submitted by Feb. 1, 1998, and there is a limit of one entry per person. Winners will be chosen by April 30, 1998.
Packaging firm offers new recycling service
BRAMPTON, ONTARIO — Buckhorn Canada added a repair and recycling program for its reusable plastic packaging systems for its Canadian customers.
The Brampton-based company provides reusable plastic packaging systems and services, including bulk and hand-held containers, plastic pallets, interior dunnage and applications services.
The repair service extends the useful life of its products through replacement parts. The recycling service takes products that have reached the end of their useful lives and removes them from the customer's system.
Domino shifts focus to trading, exporting
PENNINGTON, N.J. — Domino Plastics Co., a post-industrial plastics brokerage, moved from a 44,000-square-foot facility to a 2,000-square-foot office Aug. 1.
``We wanted to separate the office from the warehouse and outsourced the warehousing, handling and distribution of the raw material,'' said Mike Domino, president of Domino Plastics. ``We felt that the public warehouse would do a more efficient job so we concentrated our efforts on our expertise — trading and exporting.''
The former warehouse was leased in Trenton, N.J. Domino is now based in Pennington.
The company buys and sells all forms of commodity and engineering-grade post-industrial plastic. Its main end markets are agriculture, pipe, housewares, toys and games, and exports to Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The firm buys scrap from factories and trucks it to a warehouse where it is unloaded, inspected, graded, classified and resold.
``This move has been a very positive thing for us,'' Domino added. ``The company is experiencing growth as a result of it.''
NAPCOR grant program to foster PET recycling
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The National Association for Plastic Container Recovery will award grants of as much as $25,000 to support PET recycling.
The recycled PET Market Catalyst Grant Program will reward technologies that dramatically lower processing costs or find new uses for recycled PET.
``Recycled PET's beneficial attributes have been overlooked, in many cases because of a lack of financing for promising recycled PET applications,'' Mike Schedler, NAPCOR technical director, said in a news release.
Proposals for grant consideration will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Awards will be based on the technical feasibility of the project, the magnitude of the potential market, the identification of a customer base, the firm's access to suitable financing, current progress on the project and key personnel involved in the enterprise.
NAPCOR is a Charlotte-based trade association founded in 1987 to promote PET container recycling.