Millions of plastic bottles end up in South Africa’s landfills every year. Finding ways to manufacture useful recycled products from these bottles will not only shrink landfill sites, but will also support the construction industry in finding sustainable building solutions.
A.G Ismail is a company that offers an insulation to clients that is manufactured from 100% recycled plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Their Think Green Insulation is a professional product that can be used in dry-walling insulation and ceilings. This insulation sheet will keep a building cool in the summer and warm in the winter, improving heat regulation and minimising the need for artificial temperature control systems.
Creating a Think Green Insulation sheet
The most common container in the soft-drink market today in South Africa is the PET bottle. Recognisable as the transparent, rigid container used to package bottled water, carbonated soft drinks (CSD’s), sports drinks, water, juice, peanut butter, salad dressings, oil, cosmetics and household cleaners, PET is labelled with the # 1 code and is 100% recyclable.
Discarded post-consumer PET bottles are collected, baled and delivered to the recycler. Within the recycling plant, bottle tops are removed and the bottles are inspected and sorted according to colour and material. The sorted bottles are washed and then conveyed to a granulator, where they are reduced to flakes before being screened. These flakes are then washed, dried and conveyed to an extruder where the material is turned into pellets.
The finished product takes the form of small clear pellets, which are supplied to intermediate converters who then re-extrude them to produce a fibre. The fibre is then converted into the Think Green Insulation sheet that A.G Ismail supply and install.
When the fibre ends up at the manufacturer, it is pressed into the right size to become an insulation sheet.
The demand for recycled products
A prevailing demand for polyester fibre continues to provide the most economic end-use for South African recycled PET, and demand currently exceeds supply. In South Africa, Gauteng generates the most PET post-consumer products at 55% of the national total, followed by the Western Cape with 13%. Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves 1,5 tons of CO2 versus landfill or incineration processes.
More than 1,4-billion bottles have been recycled in South Africa to date.
Think Green Insulation sheets are cut into six different sizes and ranging in thickness. It is also an SABS-tested product that subscribes to the SANS 1381 standards.
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