Tag Archives: Circular Design

Recycled plastics in electronics: from individual pilots to industry collaboration

Ten companies in the electronics sectors, together with the two trade associations Digital Europe and CECED, gathered in September for a two days’ workshop.  Goal of this workshop was to formulate concrete projects to use more recycled plastics in electronic appliances. All parties agree that the market for recycled plastics will get a boost when electronics producers increase the use of these plastics in their products. Industry collaboration can help speed up this development. The workshop in Brussels boosted this cooperation. 

“We already have projects on recycled plastics. We started back in 2010 by introducing more and more recycled plastics” Eelco Smit, sustainability manager of Philips explains. “Now we want to take this to the next level. We are too small to make a big change ourselves: we can only make a change if we get critical mass.”The collaborative workshop, bringing together several electronics producers, electronic collectors, virgin producers and recyclers, gives companies the opportunity to learn from each other and work together to achieve industry wide collaboration. [1]

Different material properties

Why are recycled plastics not reused for new electronics yet? Often this is related to the material properties of the recycled material. These are not the same as the properties of virgin material. This means electronic producers need to test all recycled materials for all different product groups – a time consuming process. In addition, the designers working for brand owners do not always know how to design with recycled materials. And even if they do have this knowledge, high quality recycled materials are not always available in large quantities. The bigger electronics brands such as BSH (Bosch Siemens) and Philips prefer to work with large suppliers. Recyclers, on the other hand, face the challenge to produce a high quality and high value material at a competitive price. This involves large investments in machines needed to separate the different plastics from each other. The recyclers deal with a mixed materials supply stream, as many product types (e.g. washing machines together with tumble dryers, dishwashers, cookers, etc) are collected together.

What’s next?

During the workshop participants shared their knowledge, evaluated their supply chains and created new ideas how to make this more circular. Subsequently, they worked together on solutions for the current challenges. This resulted in five project proposals. A group of workshop participants agreed to work on an educational tool “Design for Recycling” in order for designers to get more in-depth knowledge on working with different recycled materials. Another group worked on a project proposal related to standardization of recycled plastics, whereas another group focused on improving the collection and recycling of filled PP(polypropylene) from washing machines. The participants will be invited again to follow up on the progress in the projects. One thing is clear: all parties are highly motivated to close the plastics loop. As Gisela Lehner from Borealis stated: “Plastics is too valuable to throw away, we want to be part of the second life of plastics.” To be continued…

More information? contact Marjolein van Gelder or Ingeborg Gort.

[1] Present at the workshop were CECED, Digital Europe, Ricoh, Technicolor, Philips, BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, Eco-systèmes, Recupel, Coolrec, MBA Polymers, Urban Mining Corp and  Borealis.

How the silicone cartridge enlightened us

How can a relatively small problem provide great insights? The participant members of the silicone cartridge  project can answer this question. They worked together to tackle the problem of the disposed cartridges. The disposal and recycling of the  cartridges that are (nearly) empty are not  straightforward: they end up in the household plastic packaging through a number of ways and this stands in the way of a recycling process that is sustainable for the future.

All links in the chain

With twelve participant parties joining, every company in the supply chain was represented. And this is key to success: in order to improve a process that covers so many links in the chain, results are likely to fail if one link is missing. Once you get all of them around the table (producer, supplier, wholesaler, waste collector, waste sorter, recycler etc.) you can actually start to imagine results at the end of the line.

Contents vs. packaging

The silicone cartridge itself is not the problem, the leftover contents are. Many of the disposed cartridges  still contain bits of glue and they can obstruct the machines. By establishing this, an important conclusion is: not the packaging should determine the way of disposal but its contents.

Despite the increased cooperation on a European level, the disposal of silicone cartridge differs by country. Therefore one of the recommendations is: set up a research on how cartridges  are disposed of in Belgium and in Germany. The results of this research could help develop a uniform model for disposal in Europe.

Symbols & watermark

Home improvement stores in the Netherlands have asked their suppliers to apply a waste symbol on the packaging. This symbol informs the buyer – either professional or DIY – on how to dispose of the cartridges.

Another solution coming out of the project is applying a watermark on the packaging. The watermark would cover the whole surface of the packaging in order for it to be picked up by a scanner, even when it’s only partly visible on the conveyor belt. Using a watermark could not only prove helpful for the silicone cartridge but also for other purposes, like separating food from non food.

A waste symbol is information for the customer, a watermark is information for the waste sorting companies. It wouldn’t even be visible for the customer. Thinking ahead, symbols and watermarks can be used for marketing and logistics purposes, too.

Experiment

Working together on an improved disposal of silicone cartridges shows us how useful it can be to experiment. Trial and error are essential for innovation. In a project setting where all stakeholders play their part, there’s room for transparency and open communication. Results (whether failure or success) are shared and are there for everyone to see.

The findings coming out of this project go beyond the high tack market. TUSTI, a recycling company, conducted an experiment to see whether it’s possible to remove the leftover bits of glue from the cases (see report). Den Braven (sealant producer) placed, together with its suppliers, a watermark on their cases to participate in a sorting experiment by TOMRA and P&G (see PETCycle project).

Silicone cartridges in a circular economy

The silicone cartridge project is part of the broader ambition to close the loop of plastics. The final report “Silicone cartridges in a Circular Economy” (Dutch) is the result of the chain project at the request of the Chain Agreement Plastics Cycle and the Waste Funds Packaging. The idea of this project was put forward by Michiel Westerhoff (Circulus Berkel) in the steering committee of the Chain Agreement Plastics Cycle and is carried out by Partners for Innovation.

  • More information

– The report with conclusions & recommendations (Dutch)

– The report  “Recycling of sealant tubes”

-Website Kunststofkringloop  (Dutch)

-Website PETcycle project  (English)

  • Project Participants

QCP (Quality Circular Polymers), SUEZ, VWDHZ (Vereniging Winkelketens Doe Het Zelf), Circulus-Berkel, Den Braven Holding B.V., Afvalfonds Verpakkingen, Nedvang, Vereninging Lijmen en Kitten VLK, LCKVA (Learning Centre Kunststof Verpakkingsafval), KIDV (Kennisinstituut Duurzaam Verpakken), TUSTI, Filigrade, Fischbach, Partners for Innovation, Ketenakkoord Kunststofkringloop. ·

  • Contact

Ingeborg Gort i.gort@partnersforinnovation.com

 

CIRCO Circular Design Class

Are you curious about the circular economy and what your role as a designer will be in a circular world? Would you like to apply circular packaging design principles in your work, but does putting them into practice seem difficult?  

If so, we would like to invite you to participate in the Circular Design Class on the 21st of September! 

During this one day course you will be taught the principles of circular design, practice their practical application and gain insight into your role as a designer in developing circular products and services.

The contents of the training are based on the research and book ‘Products that Last’’ (TU Delft) by associate professor Conny Bakker, who will expound on the design strategies and business models that are described in them. In addition you will work with practical examples of frontrunners in the industry.

More information: clicknl

CIRCO Circular Design Class for Packaging Designers

Are you curious about the circular economy and what your role as a packaging designer will be in a circular world?  Would you like to apply circular packaging design principles in your work, but does putting them into practice seem difficult? 

If so, we would like to invite you to participate in the Circular Design Class on the 6th of December! During this one day course you will be taught the principles of circular design, practice their practical application and gain insight into your role as a packaging designer in developing circular packaging and packaging systems.

The contents of the training are based on the research and book ‘Products that Last’’ (TU Delft 2014) by associate professor Conny Bakker, who will expound on the design strategies and business models that are described in them. In addition you will work with practical examples of frontrunners in the industry.

More information: CIRCO website

STRIDE Learning Lab on Circular Design @ImpactHub Zürich

In this STRIDE Learning Lab on Circular Design, you will learn how to apply this circular thinking to your business and your product/service.

You will benefit from the Dutch expertise of CIRCO. Their claim is to creating business through circular design. The approach of the Dutch CIRCO program is used to make designers and companies think different about their business and help them in taking the necessary steps in the development of circular products, services and business. Key in this approach, is to actively work together and quickly gain insight into where value loss takes place, in your business and throughout the entire chain. From these insights, opportunities are identified to simultaneously generate business with an approach that creates true value, reduce negative environmental impact and take steps in developing a circular economy.

This CIRCO approach is practised in cooperation with over 90 companies and 150 designers over the last two years and is based on the ‘Products that Last’ framework (Delft University of Technology), tools and methods. The project is an extension of the government program ‘Circular Economy’, and is coordinated by CLICKNL, the Knowledge and Innovation Network (TKI) of the top sector Creative Industries.

More info: STRIDE Labs

 

Dutch Agreement on Resources paves way to circular economy

On January 24th the Dutch government and 180 parties signed the Agreement on Resources. Partners for Innovation too, was one of the signers.

It is agreed that in 2050 that the Dutch economy is completely ‘circular’. To accomplish this, every party (research institutes, companies, governmental bodies) formulated its own ambitions.

Our mission: closing material cycles

Our mission is to close material cycles by working with partners on:
  • products and packaging that are fully recyclable
  • high value secondary material streams
  • litter prevention
  • products made of recyclable materials (biobased/recycled and in some cases biodegradable)
  • smart technology supporting Circular Economy
  • products and packaging with a positive (environmental) impact

And this is what we do:

We:

  • set up and coordinate circular innovation projects with (chain)partners
  • give CIRCO Design Classes and Business Design Tracks
  • conduct Life Cycle Assessments & Quick scans
  • have written the “Guidelines designing with recycled plastics” and we can support companies in implementing the guidelines
  • carry out surveys and feasibility studies
  • write successful project proposals to obtain financing

Plastics

Beside signing the Agreement on Resources, Partners for Innovation plays an active role in the creation of the Supply Chain Agreement on Plastics. We work together with partners in the supply chain on appliances for PHA and in another project we are looking for ways to solve the problems in the silicon sealant tubes in the plastics cycle.

Contact

Ingeborg Gort-Duurkoop  i.gort@partnersforinnovation.com

Related articles

Masterplan on the Plastics Cycle

Masterclass Circular Economy for CEO’s of innovative companies

Download

The Guide to Sustainable Packaging

Designing with recycled Plastics – guidelines

 

Showcase AKG Polymers: Design with recycled plastics

In this video AKG Polymers explains how they realise high quality PP recyclates and how they can make PP recyclates based on the specific demands from a customer.

This showcase is the result of an MJA3 project supported by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO Nederland) and The Dutch Federation of Rubber and Plastics Industry (NRK), in cooperation with Philips and developed by Partners for Innovation.

Showcase Océ – Design with recycled plastics

In this video Océ, a Canon company, explain how they have been able to incorporate recycled materials in the Canon varioPRINT 135 series. Furthermore they highlight drivers and preconditions for succesfully incorporate recycled plastics in industrial printers.

This showcase is the result of an MJA3 project supported by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO Nederland) and The Dutch Federation of Rubber and Plastics Industry (NRK), in cooperation with Philips and developed by Partners for Innovation.

Showcase Philips – Design with recycled plastics

In this video Philips explains how it has incorporated as much as possible recycled plastics in their newest introduction, the Philips PerfectCare Aqua Eco steam generator. In this serie five other videos have been produced in which several Dutch leaders in the industry explain how they incorporate recycled plastics in their products.

This showcase is the result of an MJA3 project supported by Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO Nederland) and The Dutch Federation of Rubber and Plastics Industry (NRK), in cooperation with Philips and developed by Partners for Innovation.