rFlex® FAQs

rFlex® FAQs

What is rFlex®?

rFlex® is an innovative recycled plastic material that can be used to make rigid plastic products, including tertiary packaging such as pallets, crates, trolleys, and baskets. rFlex® can be used with various manufacturing processes, including injection moulding, sheet forming, rotational moulding, and extrusion moulding. Its versatility is dependent on the specific grade of rFlex® used. We supply rFlex® in pellet form, available in bulk bags of either 700 KG or 1000 KG.

What is rFlex® made from?

rFlex® is made from a mix of recycled post- consumer and pre-consumer soft plastics, predominantly plastic food packaging with secondary commercial material sources such as films, shrink wraps, and bubble wrap.

The finished product contains a small percentage of other performance agents (1-3%) depending on the application in which the rFlex® will be used.

Does rFlex® align with the circular economy?

rFlex® significantly contributes to the circular economy by embodying its core principles:

  1. Reducing Waste: rFlex® transforms mixed soft plastic waste into a valuable resource. By repurposing these plastics, which are mostly post-consumer, rFlex® plays a crucial role in diverting waste from landfills.
  2. Extending Material Lifecycle: We design rFlex® to keep materials in circulation for longer. rFlex® uses recycled materials and is recyclable itself, thus extending the lifespan of the original materials.
  3. Regenerating Natural Systems: By diverting plastics from litter, rFlex® helps mitigate the adverse impacts of plastic pollution on natural ecosystems while reducing overall carbon footprint of the product using rFlex® in place of virgin plastic.
  4. Product Design for Sustainability: rFlex® is designed with whole-of-life considerations. The material is formulated to ensure that it can be efficiently recycled at eventual end of product life, while minimising the use of virgin materials for products at start of life.
  5. Promoting Sustainable Consumption: By offering a high-quality, recycled alternative to virgin plastics, rFlex® encourages manufacturers and consumers alike to make more environmentally responsible choices.

Does using rFlex® make plastic products worse quality?

No. rFlex® is made to fit existing specifications for the application, including adjusting impact strength, flexural modulus, tensile strength, and melt flow index. It’s not one size fits all for rFlex®, we compound the material to your specification to ensure it works as well as virgin materials.

How does rFlex® maintain quality if using recycled materials?

rFlex® is not made to be a a one-size-fits most solution, it is instead engineered to meet specific performance criteria for each applixation to ensure that it meets the performance standards of virgin plastics.

For example:

Shipping Pallets: rFlex® is designed to offer robust impact strength, ensuring durability and resilience under heavy loads.

Shopping Trolleys: We optimize rFlex®  for higher melt flow characteristics, facilitating the use in larger moulds without compromising the product’s structural integrity.

Through innovative engineering and a commitment to quality, rFlex®  challenges the notion that recycled materials are inferior while delivering a more sustainable material solution.

Where do the soft plastics used in rFlex® come from?

Close the Loop use soft plastics from retail store drop- off programs, from local council soft plastics recycling initiatives, as well as direct from key partners supply chains. With a focus on circular contracts, Close the Loop aim to take-back and recycle soft plastics from companies that then buy-back recycled content or more sustainable packaging products from us to inform a circular economy.

Can't the plastic used in rFlex® be recycled back into food packaging?

The majority of post-consumer soft plastic packaging that is used in rFlex® has too much contamination from organic matter, inks and adhesives to be made back into food-safe packaging here in Australia. Improvements in technology and packaging materials will help increase the capability for packaging-to-packaging recycling of soft plastics in Australia over the coming years, which will help balance our supply and demand for recycled content in packaging products.

Is rFlex® suitable for food packaging or other food-grade applications?

No. rFlex® is specifically designed for use in non-food grade applications. Unlike rigid plastic streams such as clear PET and HDPE that have large end market potential, the post-consumer soft plastic materials used to make rFlex®  are far more challenging and are not suitable for food-grade recycling due to the level of contamination from organic matter/food, inks and adhesives.

What types of products can be created using rFlex®?

rFlex® is incredibly versatile and can be used to manufacture a wide range of plastic products typically made from either Polypropylene (PP) or Polyethylene (PE). This includes products that are created by injection or extrusion moulding, including pallets, tubs and crates. For instance, we can formulate rFlex® to function with the same performance and durability as virgin plastics within product crates, while encouraging the use of recycled materials and shift towards a more sustainably-focused supply chain.

How can councils or businesses get involved with soft plastic recycling or using rFlex®?

Any council in Australia can speak to Close the Loop to discuss joining a circular contract, similar to the model we have in place with the City of Greater Bendigo.

Any business that gets plastic items manufactured on-shore in Australia that wishes to incorporate rFlex ®can get in touch with Close the Loop and discuss options for supply direct to the product manufacturer.

For businesses looking to recycle soft plastics that also want to use rFlex®in their products, we can formulate a circular contract to ensure there is an equilibrium in-line with circular economy principles that ensures a balanced supply chain. For example, businesses would buy-back a volume of rFlex® equal to the volume of material they send to Close the Loop for recycling.

Any Australian businesses or consumers looking to recycle their soft plastic packaging without looking to use rFlex® should visit their local council website for information on available programs in your area.

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