Toward more circular products and services
- Talking sustainability with our consumers
- Toward more circular products and services
- Our ambition to be climate neutral in our operations
- Helping people in need during 2020
- Managing health & safety during a pandemic
- Driving digital auditing in supply chain sustainability
- Food matters - a social and virtual switch to promote sustainable eating
- Reimagining our relationship with water
- Climate leadership in the midst of a global pandemic
Electrolux is proactively working to offer consumers more circular products and solutions that make better use of finite resources.
Incorporating recycled plastics into appliances
Plastics are a key material in the manufacturing of household appliances as they are versatile, durable and light weight. However, most plastics are made from fossil-based non-renewable materials.
With less than 12% of the 400 million metric tons of plastic produced globally each year made from recycled materials, there is a huge opportunity to reduce environmental impact and emissions by incorporating recycled plastic into new products. However, a major challenge is the limited access to safe and consistent high-quality recycled material in large volumes.
The amount of recycled plastic Electrolux used increased from 6,400 metric tons in 2019 to 6,800 metric tons in 2020.
Up to 40% recycled plastic
Electrolux Dish Care is leading the way by increasing the proportion of recycled plastics in its products to almost 40% for some types of tub dishwashers. Having been implementing opportunities to use recycled material for years, the team began by replacing ‘behind the hinges’ structural components, which are not consumer-facing, with recycled plastics.
“One critical element in this journey to increase the use of recycled plastic is to link the product roadmap to the innovation agenda and the generation plan, to create full transparency around each single opportunity and to shift the considerations from just pure cost-savings to a broader perspective in which sustainability is the driver,” says Massimo Guarnaschelli, VP Head of Global R&D Dish Care.
A visionary recycled vac
In 2020, Electrolux in partnership with Stena Recycling, which recovers raw materials from discarded electronic consumer products, revealed a prototype vacuum cleaner made from 100% recycled and reused materials and components.
“The project highlighted many of the considerations we take into account as we seek to become more circular,” says Henrik Sundström, VP, Sustainability Affairs. “From product design and material use to new business models, there are regulatory requirements as well as quality and safety questions that need to be addressed to strike a good balance between increasing the amount of reused and recycled materials.”
The team also studied the lifespan of recycled products and components to gain insights into consumer recycling behavior and attitudes. For example, key components, such as motors, from the recycled vacuum cleaners used within the project had on average no less than 83% of their lifespan left.
The prototype vacuum cleaner is an action within the Electrolux Better Living Program, which is a plan to enable better and more sustainable living for consumers around the world. By 2030, all Electrolux product ranges will contain at least 50% recycled materials.
In the last two years, a pilot of a circular subscription business model for our award-winning robotic vacuum in Sweden has proved popular among consumers. Since late 2018, the Pure i9 has been offered on a trial subscription pay-per-use basis with all delivery, consumables, service and maintenance included in the fee.
“We have continually optimized the model and, since achieving our first profitable quarter in Q3, 2020, we have seen that this circular model is good for the planet and good for our shareholders,” says Daniel Wentz, VP Software Product.
Crucially, if a consumer returns the product to Electrolux and chooses to end the subscription, it is refurbished and made available for the next customer. This ensures each unit is used to its fullest extent and promotes a circular economy during the product’s lifetime.
“Without these hardware-as-a-service models, companies won’t be addressing 100% of the market in the future and the success from trial to profitable business provides confidence in value creation and potential for scale,” concludes Wentz.
Electrolux is a leading global appliance company that has shaped living for the better for more than 100 years. We reinvent taste, care and wellbeing experiences for millions of people around the world, always striving to be at the forefront of sustainability in society through our solutions and operations. Under our brands, including Electrolux, AEG and Frigidaire, we sell approximately 60 million household products in approximately 120 markets every year. In 2019 Electrolux had sales of SEK 119 billion and employed 49,000 people around the world.
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