Recyclable alternatives for Corrugated Plastic

Ernestww

New Member
Has anyone heard of a recyclable alternative to Coroplast for temporary outdoor signage? This is for election signage.

Thanks and regards
 

Adam Vreeke

Member
Not sure if it took off, but a few years ago someone was trying to push some biodegradable coro. Never bought it, and forgot the supplier, but it is out there.
 

Inks

Member
Not sure if it took off, but a few years ago someone was trying to push some biodegradable coro. Never bought it, and forgot the supplier, but it is out there.
You are correct it was Matraplast that marketed that product. People were not willing to pay the extra $ and they dropped the product.
 

FireSprint.com

Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing
Aluminum.

Most paper products rated for more than just a few hours outdoor are impregnated with some kind of plastic, so they aren't truly recyclable. (mixed materials are hard to recycle)

Generally, you can recycle coroplast anywhere that takes polypropylene (#5)

 

ikarasu

Active Member
It can be technically but I haven't found anywhere locally yet that will take it.
Youre in Canada. Anywhere that takes plastic. Will take coroplast. You just have to tell them the type of plastic it is and pack it neatly for them.

You're in Victoria so I don't know if it's different... But we have a garbage transfer station here in Vancouver, I can load the truck up with plastic core holders, coroplast, any type of plastic from our business and drop it off.


Now if you don't have a flatbed and you're sheeting it with vinyl.... That's different. No matter what material you use, you won't be able to recycle it.

Another consideration is election signs are cheap. People.want.to wire stake them... So even if there was an alternative, the hardware might make it quadruple the price.
 

PrintQueen

New Member
there's a local non-profit here that has a program where they are trying to collect and reuse old election signs - the material they said the candidates would be using a thin, plastic-bag-like material to print, then fit over the old sign - sounds a little complicated, but also sounds like a good way to minimize waste. (Not really sure what material they're talking about, but in theory, if it was thin plastic, it could potentially then be recycled with plastic grocery bags - many grocery stores that take plastic shopping bags also take other thin plastics, like shrink wrap, bread bags, etc.)

as mentioned, coroplast can be recycled, but the majority of places don't accept the material - larger cities may have infrastructures in place to collect and recycle.

I've been on the hunt for an alternative to coro as well, but have not really had any luck for outdoor applications. Corrugated paper boards like eagle cell, etc, aren't really comparable. I've seen the 'corogreen' product, but also, as mentioned above, the material has been discontinued. It seems like it should be about time for someone to come out with a compostable, water-resistant board.

Even so, it may only be industrially compostable, which is still a similar issue as coroplast acceptance - the right infrastructure needs to be in place to accept and compost if they are made of bioplastics. One of the toughest materials to find a 'sustainable' alternative for.

We are trying to get a flatbed printer in house, so we can at least eliminate the mounted vinyl, then potentially look for a resource to collect old/scrap materials.
So far, not much luck on my end, but I wish you the best!
 

FireSprint.com

Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing
So the "Corogreen" material was kind of a joke based on my research. They added a cornstarch type product to the mix which helped the plastic break down faster in a landfill. This made the signs brittle and caused them to start falling apart while still in use.

We decided against using anything like this because (In my opinion) this does more harm than good. A yard sign that makes it to a landfill isn't all that great, but once it's there, it's in the pile of all the other trash. Slowly breaking down. Not doing any more damage than the yogurt container it's sitting next to. A yard sign that starts to degrade while on the side of the road ends up as microplastic in the waterways.

Everyone wants a cheap, durable, rigid material to make signs out of. A true unicorn. Corrugated plastic is that unicorn. It is a phenomenal product! For the same reason that Coke, with all their resources, still use plastic (PET) bottles. It's cheap, durable, and recyclable. If only we could get demand for recycled material to a point where it was cost effective.
 

balstestrat

Problem Solver
So the "Corogreen" material was kind of a joke based on my research. They added a cornstarch type product to the mix which helped the plastic break down faster in a landfill. This made the signs brittle and caused them to start falling apart while still in use.

We decided against using anything like this because (In my opinion) this does more harm than good. A yard sign that makes it to a landfill isn't all that great, but once it's there, it's in the pile of all the other trash. Slowly breaking down. Not doing any more damage than the yogurt container it's sitting next to. A yard sign that starts to degrade while on the side of the road ends up as microplastic in the waterways.

Everyone wants a cheap, durable, rigid material to make signs out of. A true unicorn. Corrugated plastic is that unicorn. It is a phenomenal product! For the same reason that Coke, with all their resources, still use plastic (PET) bottles. It's cheap, durable, and recyclable. If only we could get demand for recycled material to a point where it was cost effective.
Coke is actually testing paper based bottles this summer.
https://www.coca-cola.eu/news/supporting-environment/here-s-our-first-paper-bottle-prototype

They do want to get rid of plastics but mostly the technology and price is just not there yet for large scale operation.
Now both will eventually get there, it just takes time.
 
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Ernestww

New Member
You're in Victoria
I'm further north now in Courtenay. I called the various recycle lines, no one here that I have found takes Polypropylene Code 5 that isn't a food container.

Thanks for everyone's input. I suspect we will likley find a facility that takes the PP5, then probably bails it and sends it overseas - :)
 

Gino

Premium Subscriber
What is railroad stock? Is it like foam board?
Railroad stock is about a 6 or 8 ply shocard, but isn't white-white. It's kinda mottled. It's what anything temporary was printed on from as far back as I can remember. Printed as in screen printed. It's waterproof for about maybe 6 months for outside. No Parking signs, political signs, quick sales and many other cheap applications, where actual shocard wasn't needed for strength. Regular shocard was about 14 ply.
 

FireSprint.com

Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing
Coke is actually testing paper based bottles this summer.
https://www.coca-cola.eu/news/supporting-environment/here-s-our-first-paper-bottle-prototype

They do want to get rid of plastics but mostly the technology and price is just not there yet for large scale operation.
Now both will eventually get there, it just takes time.

That's an interesting article. The pressure of a carbonated drink adds additional complexity. Even that product has a thin plastic liner and a plastic cap though. Plastic is a remarkable material. Cheap, strong, ultra versatile. There's nothing like it. But we need to find a better way to reuse it.
 

balstestrat

Problem Solver
The pressure of a carbonated drink adds additional complexity. Even that product has a thin plastic liner and a plastic cap though.
Another thing they have issue with is alcohol, which it seems like they slowly start to figure out as well.
I'm not sure if it was mentioned in the links but they do want to get rid of the plastic liner as well. It will be replaced by biodegradable coating.
I'm sure they can figure out the cap as well at some point.

 

FireSprint.com

Trade Only Screen & Digital Sign Printing
Very interesting. You know another thing that scares me a bit about stuff like this is that it's driven by consumer perception more than the true goal of zero waste/climate impact/CO2.

Microplastics in the water suck.
The CO2 the paper industry emits suck.
The CO2 emitted when recycling aluminum sucks.
The net loss of usable energy when making ethonal from corn sucks.

The perception is changing now. People are assuming paper is better because it is compostable, and from a renewable resource, but does that actually have a better net positive impact on the planet vs alternatives? I don't know. The data is very hard to dig up.

Big players on all sides are constantly looking for ways to prove their product has the lowest impact on our planet. Hopefully the real winners rise to the top soon!
 
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