New Jersey-based company Axion said its products, which makes use of used plastic to manufacture industrial building materials, not only recycles resources that would have gone to waste but also actually does something productive out of honest recycling efforts.
Axion has only been in business for about four years according to its founder and chief technical officer James J. Kerstein. But Mr. Kerstein himself has been working with the recycling technology behind their patented processes for around 20 years, starting with Rutgers University.
"We started working with Rutgers as a think tank partner, with them driving the development of the technology and us putting the tech in practice," Mr. Kerstein told EcoSeed.
Axion now makes composite rail ties and structural building products made up of 100 percent post-consumer and post-industrial recycled plastics and industrial scrap.
The company works closely with a number of waste collectors and recyclers such as Waste Management Inc. and Sims Recycling, as well as with municipal recycling facilities, to source the plastic that they use to manufacture their Ecotrax Railroad Ties and their Struxure Composite Infrastructure products which include beams, boards and pilings as well as pre-engineered bridges and boardwalks.
"The products that we manufacture are meant to be substitutes for historical building materials such as wood or concrete or steel," said Mr. Kerstein.
Mr. Kerstein said the company's products replace materials that rust or crumble and that need to be painted or treated with toxic chemicals just to preserve them.
"We put in a product that leeches no toxins in the environment and will last for an indefinite period of time," said Mr. Kerstein.
Mr. Kerstein said each railroad tie they manufacture reuses the plastic content of around 1,800 milk jugs or juice containers that would have otherwise gone to landfills.
According to Mr. Kerstein, some of the early test projects they have done using the technology – mostly bridges for the United States military and for major U.S. railroads – have now lasted for as long as 15 years.
"The potential of the product is unlimited. We can build trellises on schools and pilings driven for marinas, bulk headings, that sort of thing. We're currently exploring industrial decking which would include everything from boardwalks to large industrial walkways," said Mr. Kerstein.
"It's not hard to get people to recycle, to get them to cooperate. It's not hard to get municipalities to collect it, but there has to be an end use that takes advantage of the materials collected," points out Mr. Kerstein.
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