In France Veolia has teamed up with a small appliance manufacturer, Groupe SEB, and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) firm, Eco-systèmes, in what was claimed to be Frances first complete circular economy for small appliances.
It all starts with the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) by Eco-systèmes, France’s nationwide non-profit company for the collection, processing and recycling of WEEE.
Once collected the e-waste is delivered to the Veolia site in Angers, central France, where it is sorted and recovered as recycled raw material. The Angers site processes 45,000 tonnesof small appliances (irons, kettles, etc.) each year.
According to Veolia, from now on, part of the recycled plastic is sent to Groupe SEB’s plastics plant in Saint-Jean-de-Bournay in eastern France. There it is fed into the production circuit for a steam generator, which has a case made entirely of recycled material.
The partnership is the result of a three-year research partnership between Groupe SEB and Veolia. The alliance between the two groups, respectively a founding member and industrial partner of Eco-systèmes, was prompted by the eco-organisation as part of the certified recycling stream.
The two groups shared their research and innovation expertise and progressed their practices to create a shared supply and manufacturing circuit for a small household appliance.
Veolia said that it adjusted the composition and characteristics of its recycled plastic material to achieve a material quality similar to that of the virgin material and comply with Groupe SEB’s requirements. It also optimised the flow of the recycled raw material supplied to Groupe SEB’s production plant in order to guarantee regular and durable infeed for the appliance manufacturing circuit.
“Our partnership with Groupe SEB and Eco-systèmes is a perfect example of a complete circular economy loop. For the first time, we are involved in the design and manufacturing process of a small household appliance,” commented Bernard Harambillet, CEO of Veolia’s waste recycling & recovery business in France.
“Our goal is to achieve large-scale growth for this business model, which replaces virgin material with recycled raw material in industrial manufacturing processes while complying with quality, quantity and cost requirements.”
Groupe SEB has adjusted its product manufacturing process to take account of the recycled raw material.
Eco-systèmes is engaged in waste prevention with its member manufacturers, such as Groupe SEB.
According to Veolia the Eco-systèmes aims to develop the use of recycled material from the recycling operation entrusted to Veolia, and strives to encourage eco-design approaches as well as circular economy initiatives within the recycling industry.
Given its expertise in dealing with the issues around recycling plastics derived from mixed small household appliance waste, Eco-systèmes was also involved in the later product stages with an assessment of the environmental impact of the use of recycled plastic in the Groupe SEB steam generator.
This steam generator is the first concrete application of the partnership. Other trials are under way and should lead to additional applications.
The Veolia WEEE sorting and recovery facility in Angers
WEEE is a source of recycled raw material: ferrous metals, plastics and precious metals.
The WEEE recovery rate at the Veolia center in Angers makes this plant one of the most efficient in France. Of the 55,000 metric tons of WEEE delivered to the center each year, it recycles:
- 94% of refrigerator and freezer components
- 91% of small appliance (kettles, hair-dryers, etc.) components
- 88% of screen components.
- With its unique process, Veolia recovers all WEEE plastics and guarantees a purity level close to that of virgin materials.
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