Make better use of resources
Electrolux will make better use of resources, and promote the market for recycling by using more recycled materials.
Roadmap 2015 to 2020
- Replace virgin materials with recycled materials in our products
- Increase the volume of recycled plastic to 20,000 metric tons annually
- Increase amount of scrap-based steel in our production
The case for action
Population growth and raw materials
As the global middle class is expected to more than double in size by 2030, the demand for material resources will increase together with the demand for goods and services. For Electrolux, this means we can expect the price of materials such as steel, plastic and electronic components to become more volatile.
There is an urgent need to reduce the pressure on raw material resources and the environmental impacts associated with their extraction. One way to do this is to move towards systems that are more circular and ensure the maximum value from resources by recovering and reusing materials at the end of each service life. According to the 2018 Circularity Gap Report by Circle Economy, only 9% of the resources used globally are cycled back into the economy after use. The report stresses the need for a circular economy that makes better use of resources to prevent further and accelerated environmental degradation and social inequality.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Virgin materials cause considerable greenhouse gas emissions through their extraction and manufacture. For example, the emissions from the production of plastic in our products are approximately equivalent to the emissions from our operations and transport activities combined. Recycled materials on the other hand can have substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions. This means that increasing the amount of high-quality recycled materials in our products can make an important contribution to combating climate change. Steel is the largest material we use by volume and is an even greater source of CO2 emissions than plastic. By sourcing scrap-based steel, we can make a significant reduction in our CO2 footprint from materials.
Our internal Recycling Taskforce includes representatives from each Electrolux sector, purchasing, R&D, production and product lines to define this promise's scope, targets and action points. This involves finding reliable and high-quality material suppliers, to identify the best opportunities within each product category for replacing virgin materials with recycled materials – either within the existing design, by adapting the design for recycled materials, and by adapting material recipes and production processes to ensure the recycled materials meet our requirements.
- Traceability of the source of plastics
- Securing consistent and safe high-quality material
- Access to sufficient volumes
- Maintain use of recycled material when developing new products
Overcoming these challenges requires strategic partnerships with recycled plastic suppliers and strong internal capabilities. Specific requirements have been added to the Electrolux Restricted Materials List, covering our restrictions on hazardous substances.
The progress on our promise
How we measure progress
- The amount of recycled plastic we buy (in metric tons)
- The carbon footprint of the steel we buy compared with our 2013 baseline
Our objective is to use 20,000 metric tons of recycled plastic per year by 2020. In 2018, we increased the amount of recycled plastic we used compared with last year – from 5,600 metric tons in 2017 to 7,300 metric tons in 2018. This is over 20 times more recycled plastic than we used in 2011 when we began reporting.
The amount of recycled plastic we used increased during the year as virgin plastic was replaced with recycled plastic in new product platforms. We are working to better incorporate recycled plastics into new products from the outset, which we already do for our vacuum cleaners. In 2018, we held two internal workshops to promote the incorporation of recycled plastics in new product platforms.
Amount of recycled plastic
Electrolux has increased the amount of recycled steel from 7% in 2013 to 24% in 2018, which has reduced the average annual carbon emissions per metric ton of steel from 2.1 to 1.7 metric tons of CO2, and the annual CO2 emissions by 251,000 metric tons. Since 2013, we have avoided the generation of 1,335,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions by using recycled steel instead of ore-based steel. Additionally, the ore-based steel we use contains up to 30% recycled steel, although that has not been taken into consideration in this calculation.
Although we have made significant improvements since 2013, we saw a reduction in our use of recycled steel in 2018 compared with the previous year. This is mainly due to the ongoing trade conflict between the US and China, which is expected to have a further negative impact in 2019 on our use of recycled steel.
Electrolux has made most progress with scrap-based steel in North America, where the availability of high-quality scrap-based steel is good. While we would like to see this happen in other sectors, it will take a longer time to realize due to structural differences between the steel industries in different regions, with less high-quality scrap-based steel available outside North America. In Europe, suppliers typically sell a lower quality of scrap-based steel, which is inadequate for Electrolux products.
|Roadmap 2015 to 2020||Next steps in 2019||Status|
|Replace virgin materials with recycled materials in our products.||Expand strategic partnerships with suppliers. Leverage experience from Europe in other regions.||dot2|
|Increase the volume of recycled plastic to 20,000 metric tons annually.||Focus on purchasing and R&D efforts to enable the introduction of recycled plastic in more applications.||dot2|
|Increase amount of scrap-based steel in our production.||Continue to leverage experience from North America in other regions and identify suppliers of scrap-based steel outside North America.||dot2|
Additional effort is required
Work has not yet begun
Electrolux shapes living for the better by reinventing taste, care and wellbeing experiences that make life more enjoyable and sustainable for millions of people. Through our brands, including Electrolux, AEG and Frigidaire, we sell more than 60 million household and professional products in more than 150 markets every year.
S:t Göransgatan 143
SE-105 45 Stockholm, Sweden