Recycling Fish Boxes - Compact and Recycle Waste - RUNI

Uncompacted XPS
Uncompacted XPS

Recycling Fish Boxes: How to Compact Your Waste and Turn It into Value

Fish boxes are generally made of EPS, also known as expanded polystyrene. The fish boxes are used for collection, storage and transporting fresh products, like fish, seafood or vegetables. EPS fish boxes are very suited for this purpose as contact packaging because of their very good insulation, protection and safety properties. 

Around 335.000 tonnes of EPS are used for this purpose in the EU every year. In the fishing industry these EPS fish boxes are the packaging mostly used. 

Recycling fish boxes - compactingSame amount of fish boxes shown in kg's - not compacted fish boxes and the compacted block.

The material in fish boxes can also be referred to as 'engineered air', as this form of rigid plastic foam, is produced from PS - polystyrene and 98 % air. Fish boxes of EPS are the main choice for landed fish because of their excellent insulation properties that keep the fish fresh and avoid producing food waste. EPS is extremely light weight, but has superior thermal insulation properties, that also help to reduce the need for cooling, e.g. by adding heavy ice. This also helps to save energy during transport and storage during the entire process of the logistic chain. 

Make the Best Use of Your Waste Fish Boxes by Recycling Them

Fish boxes are 100 % recyclable, but still has a low recycling rate in Europe in general. It is getting better and some countries are achieving up to 90 % of the fish boxes being recycled (Norway, Denmark, Greece and the Netherlands) but still more and more countries are achieving higher recycling percentages. 

When not recycled, fish boxes tend to end up in landfill or in incinerators for energy extraction. 

But being a mono-material packaging (meaning that it only consists of one type of material) the fish box is easy to recycle.

When compacting used fish boxes we can achieve: 

  • A very large reduction in landfill (as this material is of very high volume) 
  • Reduction in the consumption of new raw materials, like virgin polystyrene
  • Savings on both water and energy consumption from production of new fish boxes
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions and hereby better climate change
  • Reduction of litter in the environment

Furthermore, economic and social benefits are to be expected, like creation of new jobs, promotion of innovative plastic recycling processes in general, and commitment through the whole value chain. 

How to Recycle Fish Boxes by Compacting Them 

A technical, economical and environmental viable solution for recycling fish boxes is to have them collected after use, compacted, and recycled into new EPS materials. This means a completely closed loop of a life cycle for the fish box. 

How compaction of fish boxes look in the RUNI screw compactor

Actually, the used EPS boxes are quite valuable and a resource that is sought-after in the market. This means that if you have EPS, the optimal way to handle it, would be to compact it and sell it for recycling - This normally creates a good profit, as this price for used EPS is very good.

EPS Foam Provides an Importante Edge for Recycling Fish Boxes

As stated fish boxes made of EPS is the most efficient material for storing fresh fish, for transporting these to the point of sales and for keeping it fresh all the way to the consumer. 
The fish is caught, stacked in the boxes and then shipped to the supermarket or where ever they are to be sold. When empty, a misunderstanding is that remains of fish, salt water or the "smelly contamination" should be cleaned out for the box to be ready for recycling. 

BUT actually, neither these remains nor the smell has any effect on the compacting process or the further mechanical recycling. So there is really no excuse not to compact and recycle your used fish boxes.

Compact Fish Boxes Efficiently with RUNI

When it comes to finding the perfect solution for compacting fish boxes there are a few things to consider: 

RUNI offers compacting solutions for fish boxes for capacities from 18 kg/hour and up to 200 kg/hour or even a double or triple solution for 400/600 kg/hour. 

When handling fish boxes it often makes sense to consider some parts in inox, like the hopper and the stabilization chamber, to avoid these parts from rusting when being in contact with the material. 

triple fish box compaction system RUNI stand alone pre-crusher feeding three RUNI screw compactors, with stainless steel parts. 3 x 200 kg/hour

Also depending on the specific location and need the RUNI screw compactor can be built into your production line or adapted to the worker handling the boxes to make compaction and recycling as easy a step as posible

Fish production recycling of fish boxes
RUNI screw compactor fitted into fish production Compacting of fish boxes fitted into production line

Learn How to Recycle Other Waste Materials

Do you have other types of waste, that you would like to recycle? Take a look at our other recycling guides:

Recycling of:

Besides our machines for compacting, we also offer solutions for dewatering of various packaging:

If you need any further information, or you have any questions about the RUNI machines, please fill out the form below. We will contact you as soon as possible.

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