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Recycled material is making it big

After successfully being used in our vacuum cleaners, recycled plastic is now also used in major appliances, taking us nearer to a closed resource loop. At the same time, we are working to increase the proportion of scrap-based steel we use.

Patented recycled plastic

Electrolux continues to invest in Carborec®, a new plastic compound based on recycled polypropylene. Now the material is effectively in production in various product lines in major appliances.

In 2016, the amount of recycled plastic used in appliances increased to 7,400 tonnes, which is over 1,000 tonnes more than in 2015 and nearly double the amount than in 2014.  We aim at increasing the volume of recycled plastic used to 20,000 tonnes annually by 2020.

We continue to identify appliances where Carborec® could be used, add to the components and appliances where it is already applied, and move ahead with even more products with recycled plastics.

Carborec® was developed by the Electrolux Global Connectivity & Technology (Electrolux GC&T) team and has been optimized for use in appliances.

Closing the loop

Using recycled plastic has obvious environmental benefits. After the product use phase, appliance raw materials have the largest lifecycle environmental impact. By replacing virgin materials with recycled plastics, we significantly reduce environmental impacts and promote a more closed resource loop. The recycled plastic used for Carborec® emits over 30 percent less equivalent carbon emissions than virgin material.

All in all, Carborec® is opening doors to better products, new business opportunities and less environmental impact.

Scrap-based steel

Electrolux has increased the proportion of recycled steel in its products from 7 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2016. This has reduced steel-related CO2 emissions by 170,000 tonnes.

Steel is the largest material we use by volume, and its production is a significant source of CO2 emissions. By shifting our supply from iron ore-derived steel to scrap-based steel, we can  significantly reduce our material CO2 footprint. We have already begun this shift toward scrap-based steel in North America, which has reduced our steel carbon footprint considerably. The next step will be to identify sources of scrap-based steel in the other regions.

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Electrolux GC&T developed Carborec® as part of their ongoing commitment to deliver efficient solutions and technologies for a more sustainable use of resources in Electrolux products, based on a thorough lifecycle assessment. The GC&T team is responsible for bringing the Group’s connected appliances and related systems to the market by overseeing their strategy, development, launch and maintenance. It also drives innovation in the key technology domains of electronics, robotics and artificial intelligence, user experience, digital processes, materials, hygiene, acoustics and sustainable solutions. GC&T works to expand external business-oriented cooperation through Open Innovation and in close interaction with leading universities and research institutes. It identifies the latest technology relevant to Electrolux appliances globally.

This case study is related to our promise Make better use of resources