2k Manufacturing based in Luton, England has come up with a process that can take any type of plastic – clean, dirty, or defected – and remake it into what they’re calling ‘EcoSheets’. These EcoSheets are a composite material made to have the same mechanical properties as plywood. They are the end result of a process called powder impression molding, which takes all forms of plastic and makes it into a fine powder. The powder is then sandwiched in between two polymer films and is heat treated to form a viable substitute for plywood, a ubiquitous building material.
The company is eager to boast the many advantages their EcoSheets have over plywood. First and foremost: plywood is usually sent to landfill after its use because of the paint and chemicals that it is treated with. EcoSheets however, can be taken back to the plant to be remade again even if they have been painted and have nails through them. 2K Manufacturing is also selling its environmentally friendly building material at the same cost of plywood. Finally, plywood tends to rot overtime and can be difficult to work with because everyone hates splinters.
A product like EcoSheets embodies the cradle to cradle philosophy. At the end of its lifecycle it can be taken back to the factory to be remolded and reused, all the time reducing volume that would otherwise go into the waste stream. It is these sorts of materials that can truly make a green building. Assuming that 2K Manufacturings’s EcoSheets are can be trusted by engineers, this product can be used to help pick up points in green building rating systems.
Soon enough, you maybe standing or leaning on the bottled water that you just threw into your recycling can. The only question I ask is – what else can you make with plastic and powder-impression molding?
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