New Uses for Recycled Foam Padding
One of the issues with foam products that has bothered
environmentalists for years is the issue of recycling the foam. Foam, like many
other plastic products, can take years to decompose. However, foam is highly
recyclable, with the right facilities.
Foam padding, such as the padding used in seat cushions and
mattresses, can be transformed into other foam products, like carpet padding.
Recycling foam can be an extra expense for a factory at first, but in the long
run, it will save on the cost of manufacturing new foam products. Most old foam
can be melted down and mixed with a few other ingredients to create foam that
is just as strong as the original. This prevents the need for continuing to
purchase new foam products, or manufacture additional foam from petroleum. A
factory can end up saving money by reusing foam previously manufactured.
Adding a recycling center to an existing foam factory is not
difficult, and a company can even save additional money by charging a
processing fee for recycling used foam products. Companies can charge a
recycling fee to individuals who wish to drop off their old, unwanted foam
products at the recycling center. This will cover the cost of recycling and
save the factory even more money.
Recycled foam can be used to make a variety of things, from
additional padding to packaging material, to toys and novelty products and
almost anything imaginable. Recycled foam is inexpensive and good for the
environment at the same time.
Foam is a lightweight, versatile, polymer based material used in a
number of different industries and applications; one of its biggest
applications is foam padding. Padding made from foam material can be
used virtually for any industry or product that requires extra lining
for protection or comfort.
Foam padding is low-density flexible foam used in a wide range of applications such as upholstery, bedding, packaging, protective sports wear and more. Typical materials used in the fabrication of different types of foam include polyester, polyether, polystyrene, polyurethane, polyethylene and vinyl. Foam is described as open cell foam or closed cell foam depending on the arrangement of the material cells. Closed cell foam is made up of sealed and unbroken cells or bubbles that are in a tight configuration resulting in dense foam that provides a strong surface. Open cell foam is more flexible as the cells of the material are broken, or open. It is softer and less dense and is commonly used to make padding for a number of furniture applications such as barstools, carpets, benches and camping pads. Specific types of foam are chosen according to their different properties and according to the requirements of the application. Polyurethane foam is also referred to as PE, and is rigid foam constructed through an extrusion process. Beds, couches, chairs and other furniture all use PE as primary structural padding. Polyethylene foam on the other hand is used widely in packing cases to provide support and protection for fragile goods. It is extremely lightweight and durable, and has excellent buoyancy. It is also used in a number of flotation devices and nautical equipment.
Padding made from foam is lightweight, shatter proof and wear and tear resistant. It is easy to fabricate into the required shapes and dimensions for an application, and offers a cost-effective padding solution. It can also be used for insulation and to minimize effects of vibrations, in seals and gaskets, as elastomeric wheels and tires, for rotational transfer molding cores and expansion joint filler in masonry and concrete applications. Another advantage to using foam padding, especially closed cell foam padding, is that it is impervious to mold, moisture and bacterial growth and is able to be used in outdoor applications for a long time without breaking down or becoming unsanitary. The resistance of foam to absorbing water is a property which ensures its usefulness in applications such as medical foam or filter foam. Unlike other materials which may trap bacteria and water, closed cell foam resists it, thus preventing moisture build up and bacterial growth over time. Foam materials are easy to fabricate and can come in almost any size, thickness and shape. They can also be fabricated in a wide variety of colors.
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