EPS (“Styrofoam”) Recycling Program at PT Beton Elemenindo Putra

To recycle especially difficult materials or non-biodegradable waste, is very important to restore youthfulness of the Earth. Awareness to recycle not only implemented by the community, but also by some companies and factories. One example of a company that has been engaged in operation and production which is more responsible for preserving the earth is PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra, located in Batujajar, Bandung regency. This company, which produces b-panel® and b-deck®, an earthquake-resistant, energy-efficient building system, has engaged in the recycling process at its plant systematically.

One of the basic ingredients of this plant is EPS (expanded polystyrene). EPS or commonly known as Styrofoam, has been long regarded as a source of problematic waste, because it does not rot or decompose, so it tends to pile up on garbage dump sites. The irony is, that if EPS is used in building material as thermal insulation, the energy savings are significant, and because the EPS is not used in a “single-use” fashion (as in the case of decorating and wrapping / packaging), the environmental impacts will be much less – dwellings and buildings are designed to last for many years or even generations, so the non-biodegradable nature of EPS is compatible with the usage. The factory recycles EPS thoroughly and systematically, so that the raw material for EPS is used by as much as possible, and production waste is reduced, and even eliminated.

Bagan proses daur ulang styrofoam

The above diagram is process flow of PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra’s factory recycling process. The factory produces two types of EPS. First is the construction –grade EPS, which has flame-retarding property (commonly called EPS-FR) used as raw material for b-panel® The second is “regular” EPS for decoration materials and packaging, which is commonly called EPS-RG. It is made with similar raw materials, except that EPS-RG is not fire retardant. From raw materials (EPS beads), EPS produced by passing the process of expansion and blocking. From blocking to the production of b-panel® and b-deck®, EPS-FR then processed in accordance with specified standards, and then is cut to sizes and shapes to the project’s specifications (Modular cutting list).

This process generates waste pieces of EPS-FR. EPS-FR chunks which condition meets the appropriate standards, are then crushed and combined again with a new (“virgin”) EPS-FR to make the next blocks of EPS-FR, which is then processed into the next batches of b-panel® and b-deck®

For remaining pieces of EPS – FR which do not meet our standard, are not thrown away. The plant has an EPS melting facility as well. EPS waste is melted in a specially designed furnace, and then cast into hard polystyrene in the form of chips and ingots. Polystyrene chips and ingots are raw material for many everyday items, such as mobile phone casings, computer casing, etc.

The EPS recycling is not only for own post-production EPS waste alone. The truck fleets of PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra pick up, without charge, styrofoam waste from companies and shops in various parts of Bandung and its surroundings, and take them to the facility. As a result, not only the factory production process b-panel® produces very little waste (less than 0.3% in weight of production), the plant’s operation will also help reduce the buildup of waste Styrofoam in the city of Bandung and its surroundings.

PT Beton Elemenindo Putra also works together with Bangkit Bersama Cooperative, which collects Styrofoam waste from all the Bandung’s waterways, which are naturally due to the flow of the local river systems (Cikapundung, Cisangkuy, Cibeureum, etc), float to the main river Citarum, ending up in the tributary of Saguling lake directly behind our factory. The collected styrofoam waste is then sorted and washed for routine delivery to the factory, to be processed into our many products. This synergy also extends to PT Indonesia Power, which operates the Saguling Hydroelectric dam, by cleaning up the pervasive waste of EPS Styrofoam and not clogging the water around the dam, the operation of the hydro turbine is assured.

The cooperative runs a meticulously systematic operations to process EPS waste. After collection from the river (Greater Bandung generates up to 300 kg per day of Styrofoam waste!), the EPS waste is then sorted and cleaned, then dried in the sun before they are transported to PT Beton Elemenindo Putra

In addition to implementing a systematic process of recycling, PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra also run other aspects of environmentally friendly production as well. For example: The factory utilizes a boiler that uses palm kernel shell) so that greenhouse gas emission is minimized. This is to ensure that this factory is truly environmentally-friendly as a whole, from the products to the manufacturing process itself. Especially in Indonesia’s building material manufacturing sector, PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra is a clear proponent of environmentally-conscious businesses in Indonesia.

Source: Properti.biz Feb 2010, Techno Konstruksi Magazine edition 24 tahun 2010

Referensi Artikel: koran “Properti.biz” Febuari 2010 [ PDF ]

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