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Closing the recycling loop

When Sæplast began producing polyethylene containers a couple of decades ago, the possibility of them being recyclable at the end of their working lifetime was one of the options the company examined.

“This was one of the great advantages of the product, along with the strength of the containers, their durability and other features,” said Arnar Snorrason, Sæplast’s director of product and market development.

“At that time environmental awareness was already a major part of the development of the containers. So it’s a pleasure to have now reached the point where we see raw materials from used polyethylene containers used to manufacture new containers.”

He commented that Sæplast containers are quite literally getting a new lease on life as the first containers of this kind are in use by Sæplast’s subsidiary, tub rental company iTUB.

“With the PE containers, we are pursuing the goals of the circular economy. We are manufacturing a very strong and durable product that can be repaired to last longer,” he said.

When Sæplast began manufacturing containers in 1984, the company produced only rotomoulded tubs insulated with urethane, known as PUR tubs, with an outer layer made of polyethylene and the filling of urethane. PE containers are insulated with polyethylene, which makes them sturdier, safer to use for processing and handling of food – and recyclable.

According to regional sales manager Sævaldur Gunnarsson, production and sales of the PE containers have steadily increased since Sæplast put the first container of this kind on the market.

“Our customer group includes users who only buy these containers and don’t want to use anything else. Others are gradually replacing their PUR tubs with PE container,” he said.

Preparation for this current phase has been in progress for several years. Together with its overseas partners, Sæplast has developed a process for old containers to bee shredded to produce raw material that can be used again at the plant in Dalvík.

“The first step is to be able to recycle containers by using this material to mix with the filler for the containers. By doing so, we have closed the recycling loop for the product,” Arnar Snorrason said, adding that the ultimate goal is to be able to mould PE containers entirely from recycled material.

“This requires a longer development process, but we envisage this possibility for the future. We find that like us, our customers are interested in being socially responsible and pursuing recycling and re-use to the extent possible, with the main focus on the quality, durability and reliability of the packaging. That’s our goal,”

A familiar presence at IceFish since the very first event, Sæplast will be participating in the 2021 exhibition.

“This exhibition has always been a good one for our company,” he said.

“Now that we’re starting to come out of lockdown after this last difficult year, we are looking forward to being able to meet customers again at IceFish and show them the latest innovations.”

If you are interested in exhibiting, sponsoring, attending or speaking at 2021 IceFish please call +44 01329 825 335 or email info@icefish.is.

International sales:

Diane Lillo Tel. +44 1329 825 335 or email dlillo@mercatormedia.com

Icelandic sales:
Birgir Ížór Jósafatsson Tel: +354 896 2277 birgir@icefish.is or Bjarni Thor Jonsson GSM: +354 896 6363 bjarni@icefish.is

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