Recopol: Recycled Resins for Furniture

We promised you more info on Recopol, when we did a post on S+A Furniture. And not wishing to disappoint, here it is. Plastics are divided in seven groups to ensure like can be recycled with like. At one end is the ubiquitous No.1 PET, as found in fizzy drink and bottled water containers and at the other is No. 7, which simply means All Others! Into this strange grab bag falls ABS or (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). Because of its toughness, it’s a plastic much favoured by designers of electronic appliances. You’ll find it as the external casing for monitors. computers, telephones, printers, faxes, phones and so forth. But recycling facilities for ABS have not developed at the pace of the softer polymers. Wharingtons, however, have been perfecting their process for 20 years. With particular focus on furniture applications, ... ... their mouldings contain resins made from 75 to 100% recycled post-consumer and post-industrial goods, such as those noted above. It has been calculated that Recopol generates 50% less Greenhouse emissions, using 80% energy to produce than virgin resins. It reduces production waste, especially compared to timber, because it can be moulded directed into complex forms, whereas wood must be cut to shape. Yet it can still be worked with ordinary hand and power tools, as per timber. And it can be readily upholstered. After a useful life Recopol can be granulated and recycled once more into a new form. To illustrate how green they think their product is, Wharington indicate that the tub chair pictured on the left could be made from 16 kg of sawn plywood, which would be sent to landfill after use, or it could be made from 8 kg of Recopol, with an indefinite life (via recycling). While we reckon renewables are generally a better option, the use of plastics in this way, does offer some respite from the glut of electronic 'waste' on which we are currently gorging ourselves. [Apparently a Japanese company use a seemingly similar process to Wharingtons to recycle ABS from old mobile phones into new models.] ::Recopol by Wharington