Last night I found myself flowing with empty runners while cleaning off my workbench. I soon began to wonder what people do with all their empty runners and if they are even recyclable (in the States, that is).
Bandai started the EcoPla recycling program towards the end of 2021. This is from their site:
BANDAI SPIRITS aims to use recycled materials for all plastic models, for a better future. Our goal is to deliver the joy of plastic model it-making to future children. We will carry out projects EcoPla through runner recycling activities without fans and demonstration experiments aimed at achieving chemical recycling.
Boxes made from these recycled parts will have the EcoPla label.
Collected runners are combined with leftover plastic from production factories are recycled using chemical recycling. Any that cannot be used with chemical recycling is going to be using material and thermal cycling. Many Bandai stores have opened up boxes to drop off runners in their stores.
The chemical recycling process thermally decomposes polystyrene. This process returns it to the original styrene monomer. That way they can reuse it.
Whether it is good for the environment or not, I have no idea. It reduces plastic pollution but does put off a significant amount of air pollution. Unfortunately, the whole ordeal with plastic waste has no single solution.
Does this mean we can recycle runners our runners?
For the most part, no. A large portion of recycling plants in the states isn’t capable of recycling polystyrene plastics. You can contact your local recycling plant to see if they can, but the odds are not high. The same can be said with ABS plastics.
Most end up in landfills.
However, you can upcycle them.
A large population of folks meltdown runners with acetone to make things like tabletop terrain or dioramas. Some break them down to use them as paint stirrers.
You can test paints on them.
Use them to make weapons.
Personally, I clip them down into small bits and use them to fill in rough spots on the diorama when I am doing a funky build.
What do you do with your runners?
What do you think? Drop a comment below and let me know, I’d love to hear it.
Have a snazzy Wednesday everyone!