Ethylene Vinyl Acetate Resins: Properties, Advantages, Applications, and Their Recyclability
Ethylene vinyl acetate is a copolymer that is made of two monomers- ethylene and vinyl acetate. EVA is widely used in several end-use industries like healthcare sector, automotive, electronics, footwear manufacturing companies, etc. EVA is considered better and lighter than PVC, however, it’s not eco-friendly and cannot be recycled easily.
Have you ever used foam floor mats, padded sports equipment, hot glue sticks, or foam craft sheets? If yes, then you should know that all these things are made of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). But we often tend to throw these things away when no longer in use, without thinking if they can be recycled or not. So, let’s learn some basics about ethylene vinyl acetate in this blog section.
What is Ethylene Vinyl Acetate and What are its Properties?
Ethylene vinyl acetate or EVA is a copolymer that is made of ethylene and vinyl acetate monomers and is an advanced type of polyethylene. Basically, there are three forms of ethylene vinyl acetate and the material can be either a film, a rubber-like structure, or a foam depending on the amount of vinyl acetate added. Usually, EVA made with 10-40% vinyl acetate is most widely used in industries.
Here are some properties of ethylene vinyl acetate:
- High flexibility and transparency
- Good low temperature flexibility
- Excellent thermal resistance
- High friction coefficient
- High tensile strength
What are the Advantages of Ethyl Vinyl Acetate?
Some known advantages of ethyl vinyl acetate are:
- Crack resistance
- Flexibility and endurance at both low and moderate temperatures
- Can be easily processed by thermoplastic as well as rubber processing techniques
- High transparency with increased vinyl acetate amount
- Excellent heal seal strength
- 30% lighter than PVC
Where is EVA Used and is it Recyclable?
Ethyl vinyl acetate is widely used in industries for weather-resistance and to withstand harsh environmental situations and agents like chemicals, oil, etc. Since EVA is highly versatile and flexible, it is also used in healthcare sector, reformation, automotive, and electronic industries.
As per the market analysts, the global ethylene vinyl acetate resins market is predicted to generate a revenue of $15,300.3 million and grow at 6.9% CAGR in the 2021-2028 forecast timeframe.
Some common applications of ethyl vinyl acetate are as follows:
- Footwear manufacturing companies
- Automotive bumpers
- Flexible rubbery water toys and sports equipment
- Flexible product packaging
- Molded automobile parts
- Flexible hose
- Medical industry
- Electronics and marine industries
Although ethylene vinyl acetate is much lighter than PVC, it’s a modified and more complex version of plastic (number 7 plastic) and so its recycling process is very difficult. Therefore, EVA might not be recycled at a normal recycling facility easily. In addition, most of the ethyl vinyl acetate products are tough to get recycled or cannot get recycled at all. For instance, EVA used in hot glues or sports equipment are hard to get recycled since those items are made of other chemicals and materials as well that might not be recycled at all or would have to be first separated for the whole process. However, ethylene vinyl acetate foam is standalone from other products and is more capable of getting recycled. Better technology and research are initiated continuously to produce high-quality recycled EVA foam because its global recycling rates are very low.
Are EVA Products More Eco-friendly Than PVC?
Yes, EVA products are better than PVC since they consist of lower harmful chemicals. However, they are not better for the environment either, they’re just safer for humans to use. If you’re willing to use eco-friendly EVA alternatives, ethylene vinyl acetate foam is the best choice. And so, if you throw away EVA-based products, there’s no need to beat yourself up since ethylene vinyl acetate isn’t commonly recycled, except EVA foams.
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