In a first in France, a small appliance manufacturer has engaged a recycled plastics manufacturer to supply its manufacturing circuit.
The partnership is the first complete circular economy for small appliances: the electrical and electronic waste collected by Eco-systèmes is recovered by Veolia as recycled raw material, which is then used by Groupe SEB to manufacture new appliances sold in stores. The first concrete application of the partnership concerns a Groupe SEB steam generator.
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. Delivered to the Veolia site in Angers, central France, the WEEE is sorted and recovered as recycled raw material. The Angers site processes 45,000 metric tons of small appliances (irons, kettles, etc.) a year. From now on, part of the recycled plastic is sent to Groupe SEB’s plastics plant in Saint-Jean-de-Bournay in eastern France. It is fed into the production circuit for a steam generator, which has a case made entirely of recycled material.
This first complete recycling loop for small appliances in France 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-organization 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 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. Veolia also optimized 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,” says 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. The eco-organization 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.
- The sorting and recovery center encourages the creation of closed recycling loops with plastics manufacturers, thereby limiting the extraction of oil. Veolia’s Angers center avoids the emission of 71,297 metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCDE) a year.
On average, each French person produces 20 kg of electrical and electronic waste annually, of which around 9 kg is collected by the certified recycling industry1. It is predicted that the volume of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) could increase by 20% in Europe by 20202.
1 Source: Eco-systèmes
2 Volume of WEEE estimated at 10 million metric tons in 2012 by the European Union
Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 179,000 employees* worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2014, the Veolia group supplied 96 million people with drinking water and 60 million people with wastewater service, produced 52 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 31 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €24.4 billion* in 2014. www.veolia.com
(*) 2014 pro-forma figures, including Dalkia International (100%) and excluding Dalkia France.
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