Circular building materials are transforming the construction industry and ECOPEAL is one of the companies leading the way. The construction industry is normally thought of as one of the more difficult industries to integrate into circular economy principles due to perceived risks, regulatory barriers, complex and fragmented supply chains involving multiple stakeholders like architects, contractors, suppliers and subcontractors.
Many environmental initiatives within the circular economy bring up questions of performance and durability, raising concerns about long-term performance, durability and maintenance requirements of newly developed products. Thus, there is a lot of hesitation to adopt such materials with existing infrastructure. The construction industry also focuses on short-term financial gains over long-term sustainability.
“With collaboration and information sharing, they remodelled an existing PolyAl (Polyethylene and aluminium) recycling facility that prioritises durability, repairability and longevity of products, hoping to replace traditional building materials. Thus, ECOPEAL was born.”
ECOPEAL gives beverage cartons a second life, recycling them into boards. Beverage cartons are made out of 75% paper while the other 25% are made out of polyethylene and aluminium. Their products are made through a rigorous production process after collection of the beverage cartons from residential and commercial sites. After the sorting process, ECOPEAL does a “hydra-pulping” where empty cartons are mixed with water to separate Fibres and PolyAl. From there the two materials have their own production process. The first being, fibres are dried and pressed into newly recycled paper products. Meanwhile extracted PolyAl is processed as a composite or separate materials to be used to manufacture the ECOPEAL roof and board products.
Hydra pulping, also known as hydrapulper, is a mechanical pulping process used to produce pulp from fibrous materials such as wood chips, recycled paper, or agricultural residues. It involves the use of high-pressure jets of water to break down the raw material into individual fibres and material. The high-pressure water jets effectively separate the fibres from each other and disintegrate the lignin, resulting in a higher yield of individual fibres. It is a process that is energy efficient and cost-effective while also having high yields that is able to utilise various feedstocks.
The recycling facility can now recycle up to 8 tonnes of polyethylene and aluminium per day, transforming polyethylene and aluminium to ECOPEAL roofs and boards. They are not only interested in creating one-off recycled products but also building recycling ecosystems within communities for a sustainable future. And with that, developing a new circular economy to disrupt the traditional take-make-dispose model requires innovation, promoting local production, resources efficiency and creation of new products.
“developing a new circular economy to disrupt the traditional take-make-dispose model requires innovation, promoting local production, resources efficiency and creation of new products.”
Their products have been used as roofing solutions, unique furniture pieces and also to build simple makeshift guard houses as they are able to endure our tropical weather. They are also marketed as being water resistant, heat resistant, eco-friendly, termite-free, noise cancelling, anti-rust and repels heat. ECOPEAL also encourages diverse and creative use of their ECOPEAL material as well. You too can participate by recycling your used beverage cartons, dropping them off at their recycling bins at IPC Recycling Drop Off Center – RBBC, P1 Parking Area, and several areas under MPPJ, MPSJ, MPSA and MPK. And yes, their recycling bins are also made out of distinct ECOPEAL material, so they are hard to miss!
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