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Community and Q&A

Uses for Foam “Regrind”

user-3368124 | Posted in General Questions on

Is there a good place to use recycled “regrind foam” for insulation purposes. There is a supplier near Worcester MA. Obvious use seems to be concrete block. Curious to see if this community has good ideas for it. Thanks

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    It's had to imagine it would be very useful for insulation purposes.

    You can fill the voids of concrete blocks with this material if you need to get rid of it (and want to put it somewhere where you don't have to look at it, and where it won't be a fire hazard), but doing so isn't going to improve the thermal performance of a concrete block wall very much. If you want to insulate a concrete wall, you need a continuous layer of insulation on either the interior or the exterior side of the wall.

  2. charlie_sullivan | | #2

    It could be mixed with cellulose to make a bag of cellulose go further. But the fire safety would be degraded and cellulose is already a cheap recycled material.

  3. Dana1 | | #3

    Polystryrene foam concrete mixes have been commercialized for a varitety of purposes and runs about R2/inch.

    It's also been widely used in hobby /art applications to make very light weight concrete:

    That could be a reasonable approach to insulated non-structural slabs but I'm not aware of anyone doing that on a commercial basis.

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    I've worked with styrofoam concrete. You don't want to use it for a slab -- it's hard to trowel and finish.

  5. Expert Member
    Dana Dorsett | | #5

    I believe it- you'd definitely want to use something else for the finish floor in a slab application. I've read of home brew slabs done that way, but not in much detail.

  6. dankolbert | | #6

    You could put some in your pockets to keep your hands warm in the winter.

  7. user-3368124 | | #7

    Thank You ... Seems a waste to dumpster it. H

  8. Chaubenee | | #8

    Some day there will be a use for it, or a way to reconstitute it into another form of product, even if it is NOT an insulation product. Let the market work and eventually we will see it come about.

  9. Expert Member

    Which brings up a much larger question as to what we are going to do if foam becomes as ubiquitous as a building material as proponents predict. Do we really want to generate that much more non-recyclable waste on a mass scale?

  10. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #10

    Here is one use for regrind: It's something like a high density fiber board. It doesn't have much for insulating value though, less than R-1/in.

  11. user-7688267 | | #11

    above video shows a guy mixing regrind EPS with concrete, foam and makes light weight insulative panels/walls.

  12. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #12

    According to the American Chemistry Council, polyurethane is recycled in two primary ways: mechanical recycling, in which the material is reused in its polymer form, and chemical recycling that takes the material back to its various chemical constituents.

    Mechanical recycling methods include “regrinding” or powdering. Regrind recycling takes polyurethane industrial trim or post-consumer parts and grinds them in various ways to produce a fine powder. The resultant powder is mixed with virgin materials to create new polyurethane foam or reaction injection molded (RIM) parts.

    I’ve attached a resource that lists applications for foam regrind.

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