IS XLPE A SUSTAINABLE MATERIAL?
As a leading supplier of crosslinked polyethylene (XLPE) foams, Worldwide Foam embraces our corporate and social responsibility to create sustainability and growth for future generations. We are committed to eliminating toxic hazards and excessive waste, while reducing our carbon footprint throughout the value chain.
It’s our belief that XLPE foams, in certain applications, are far more sustainable than other foam goods and material substitutions.
The majority of XLPE foams we supply are destined for returnable / reusable packaging applications in the automotive industry. Our foams offer Class A product protection and excellent shock absorption for many automotive parts manufacturers. The definition of returnable / reusable packaging by Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) is, “The act of extending the utility and value of an asset following a use, often a repeat of the cycle for its intended purpose. Packaging is deemed to be reusable when both the design and manufacture achieve durability for multiple uses and a defined and managed system is in place to recover the empty asset for reuse.” XLPE foam is a closed-cell structure, with extremely fine cells and superior properties. At its core, XLPE’s strength is derived from the bonds that hold it together on a molecular level. The bonding molecular makes XLPE foam a very tough and long-lasting material. It is proven that inserts made by XLPE foam found in containers, totes, trays, and dunnage can withstand the rough handling of a typical logistics system. On average, returnable / reusable packaging using XLPE foam has a lifecycle from 5-7 years creating a circular economy. This means there are no new packaging materials introduced in circulation during this lifespan. This inevitably translates into less carbon footprint and less material waste.
According to a study done by RPA,
XLPE foam scraps have been re-purposed in many ways for more than 3 decades. Companies such as Schmitz takes the post-industrial XLPE foam and upcycles them into many residential and commercial applications such as weed barrier top and playground underlayment (not padding). By turning the XLPE foam wastes into useable and cost-effective foam products, it drastically reduces the environmental impacts. As of 2022, Schmitz processes 4000 truckloads of XLPE scraps annually, and the number continues to grow. In 2021, we developed the XLPE foam recycling and pallet return programs that are designed to alleviate environmental damage, and to help our customers to reduce waste and production costs.
In conclusion, XLPE foam is a unique and purpose-built material for long-term packaging applications, and it is still the primary solution for Class A surface protection. The continuous growth of repurposing XLPE has made it a sustainable and environmentally friendly material. Worldwide Foam is dedicated to developing products and processes to fulfill a sustainable future and to improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our community.
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