Melting for the Yarra: Applied Machinery

With a recent report revealing polystyrene to be the most common waste material in Victoria’s Yarra River, Daniel Fisher of Applied Machinery outlines an efficient equipment solution.

Polystyrene, which can take centuries to degrade, is the most prevalent litter item in Melbourne’s Yarra River, according to a new state government report.

The plastic was found at 80 per cent of sites in the Yarra River catchment monitored in a Cleanwater Group and Yarra Riverkeepers study.

“Since 2018, polystyrene has consistently been found to be the highest littered item found on the river,” the report reads.

“Being both a light-weight and brittle material means that the ecological impacts of polystyrene, which can unfold gradually over time, can be widespread and devastating for the river and Port Phillip Bay.”

According to Expanded Polystyrene Australia, an estimated 71,000 tonnes of polystyrene is used annually, growing at a rate of five per cent each year.

Add to ubiquity the material’s notoriously difficult to recycle composition, and Australia’s natural environment has a problem.

While the situation may seem dire to some, according to Daniel Fisher of Applied Machinery, recycling solutions do exist.

First showcased in Australia at the 2019 Waste Expo Australia, Daniel says Applied’s new range of Greenmax EPS recycling machines represent a technological step forward for polystyrene recycling.

When it comes to polystyrene, Greenmax is an internationally renowned specialist. Committed to providing complete polystyrene recycling solutions, Greenmax’s densifiers have been sold in more than 70 countries across the world.

Greenmax Mars C200 hot melt machines operate via a hot melting system, with material initially crushed before heat is introduced. Following this, the liquified material is squeezed out of the machine, and once cooled, shaped into plastic ingots for resale.

“After the shredding, heating and extruding process is complete, the end product has a volume reduction ratio of up to 90:1. This has obvious storage and transport benefits, with a once difficult-to-manoeuvre product transformed into high-value, densified blocks ready for reprocessing,” Daniel says.

Greenmax Mars’ melters are suitable for all kinds of polystyrene material, Daniel says, with a competitive price point for a quality and reliable machine.

He adds that the machines can process most forms of foam plastic waste, including EPE, EPS and EPP.

Daniel explains that given polystyrene’s lightweight and low-density nature, it can be extremely difficult to transport it economically for recycling.

“With Greenmax’s relatively modest footprint, however, the machine is suitable for installation at smaller-scale, local operations,” he says.

The Greenmax series features screw melting technology that enables continuous outputs, with high-density ingot weights of up to 25 tonnes per 40-foot-high cube container load.

The machine enables three temperature control stages to keep output colour as white as possible, with easy operation and no additional adjustment required when in use.

Applied Machinery is proud to be an Australian sales and service partner for Greenmax Recycling, Daniel adds, with the added value of Greenmax’s parent company Intco Recycling’s buy-back offer.

“Intco Recycling can buy the densified polystyrene for their local manufacturing, which Applied can facilitate for local customers, creating a further efficiency and economic benefit,” he says.

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