“Sustainability” – “a reduced carbon footprint” – “going green”.
These aren’t just words to Advanced Plastic Recycling (APR). In fact, they’re not even lofty goals that the company is striving to reach. Because with all of its manufactured products made of 100% recycled materials, these words are reality and the foundation for APR’s business.
A Business Based on Waste Materials
Located in Adelaide, South Australia, APR began operations in 1992 and for several years worked to process waste materials into usable end products with single screw extruders. “We couldn’t vent the gas that would build up in the extruder, and producing quality end products was a challenge,” said Ryan Lokan, State Manager of APR. “We discovered ENTEK when looking for replacement screws – they convinced us that twin-screw extrusion was a much better way for us to process waste materials.”
Two APR employees made the long trip from Adelaide to ENTEK’s headquarters in Lebanon, Oregon to run trials to see what was possible. “Twin-screw extrusion was a completely different ballgame,” said Lokan. “It allowed us to use a wider variety of materials, additives, and to produce higher quality end products.”
New Markets with Wood-Plastic Composites
APR purchased an ENTEK 53mm twin-screw extruder, and not long after installation and start-up, the company began producing numerous wood-plastic composite (WPC) products. Unlike North America, where the WPC market is largely for outdoor decking, other applications are more common in Australia.
WPC’s provide cost advantages and better material properties than standard wood products. In addition, they in many cases replace pressure-treated lumber, which contains arsenic and can be harmful to the environment.
Marketed under the Evertough® brand name,APR products are used in an impressive variety of applications. “Industrial matting for truck beds and oil rigs; oyster bed pillars; posts for wine vineyards; railway ties; posts for marinas, jettys and piers. These are all products APR currently produces for use in Australia and beyond,” said Lokan.
Serious Processing Challenges
Lokan stressed ENTEK’s outstanding customer service and support as the company’s biggest attribute. “Linda Campbell, Dean Elliott, and Hwa Beng Tay have all been great and have helped us through some serious processing challenges,” he said. “When you use only 100% post-consumer plastic waste along with wood waste products, you need more than just a good machine, you need good support from your supplier. ENTEK has provided that and more, and is a great business partner.”
APR’s future plans include expansion with multiple plants throughout Australia. “It’s a big country, and the costs of transport are quite high,” said Lokan. “With the success and market acceptance of some of our WPC products, we see some good opportunities to ramp up production in locations that are closer to some of our key customers.”
When the time comes to expand and purchase new machinery, APR will choose ENTEK, said Lokan. “They have been exceptional to work with and we look forward to working with them for a long time to come.”