Investigation of Post-Consumer Regrind Content in ABS and Polystyrene for Consumer Packaging Applications

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Publication Date

Spring 2021


One of the major issues the plastics industry is trying to solve today is the lack of a circular economy. Plastics do not biodegrade fast enough to keep up with the waste being generated, and therefore present ecological and environmental problems. To take discarded plastics and continuously give them new life in a variety of applications is the goal of many plastics industries. However, to reprocess plastics, referred to as post-consumer regrind (PCR), has presented many challenges. This research focuses on comparing the thermal and mechanical integrity of both virgin and resins with significant post-consumer recycled content for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS) in the conventional injection molding process. The GPPS’s were processed and ground in Pittsburg State University’s plastics labs until three generations were produced. The thermal results include comparisons of virgin resin to PCR resins via thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) to determine and compare degradation temperatures and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to determine and compare glass transition temperatures. Melt flow index (MFI) was determined to indicate how the resins would behave in the melt during injection molding and note any marked rheological differences between virgin and PCR resins. The mechanical results include comparisons in tensile and impact testing data via Instron and Izod testing, respectively. Initial TGA results demonstrated that PCR resin was less thermally stable than its virgin counterparts for ABS.


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