E-Waste Day: A new opportunity for circularity

On October 13, a newly established International Day for Electronic Waste will be held, proving that the issue of the correct disposal of electrical and electronic equipment is being spread all around the world. According to  WEEE Forum, 50 million tonnes of e-waste will be generated globally in 2018. Despite the increase of circular initiatives, what needs a real change is the mindset of societies. 

On the occasion of this day and taking into consideration the above mentioned estimations, it is important to emphasise on the following messages:

Be part of the solution

As consumers, we all share our responsibilities. What happens to our old computer after using it, to our intensely used washing machine we currently want to discard, even to our previous smartphone – all are issues that should concern us, after replacing our old devices. As consumers, we should not be observers but leaders of the transition towards circularity. Inform yourself, ask your local authority where you can dispose your old equipment - in every community there is a point or a service which can help you.

It’s not waste!

The different components of a device (plastic, steel, iron, etc.) are extremely valuable, because they can be recovered. Despite the process of recycling may seem complex from a consumer point of view, it is a fact that every material is possible to be reused. These components can give life to new products. In this regard, nothing is wasted.

Buy smartly 

As consumers, we need to be certain about the quality of the products we buy. Energy efficiency and good functionality of electrical equipment should be important criteria for our decisions. Reduce energy consumption and waste simply by doing proper choices.

The difference of the Circular Society concept is that it starts from us. What we need is just a behavior shift. Are we willing to do it?

Smart laundry: Tips to save energy, water and money

Following up on latest consumer research studies, 2 out of 10 Europeans still do not fully load their washing machine and, only a bit more than half of the consumers (57%) claim they add the correct amount of detergent (A.I.S.E., 2017).

Moreover, 30% of Europeans still do not follow the textile care instructions, but 80% admit they would not buy clothes without any labels (GINETEX 2017).

In response to the lack of information among consumers, 3 associations (A.I.S.E., APPLiA and GINETEX), each one representing a different sector (detergents, home appliances and textiles), outlined the most important tips for a sustainable use of washing machines.

The short and clear list of tips underlines the need to pay attention to the energy class when choosing an appliance, advises to wash clothes at a low temperature, load machines appropriately, pay attention to textile care labels, use the right dosage of detergent and a lot more.

The list of consumer tips is available in this link


One more home appliance manufacturer commits to use 100% recycled plastics by 2025

More and more actors are engaging in bringing Circular Economy solutions. The news come from Whirlpool which committed to ensuring in the coming 7 years the adoption of recycling solutions for components of washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers.

The volunteering commitment comes some months after EU Commission's Plastics Strategy, aiming at promoting a more circular economy and protecting the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation. 

Instead of virgin plastic, the company will be using recycled polypropylene with mineral filler and polystyrene, in compliance with ROHS and REACH regulations.

“Whirlpool has a long and proven track record in environmental protection and sustainability, developing high-performing, innovative appliances that not only help conserve our limited resources by consuming less water and energy, but also meet the needs of our consumers” – commented Karim Bruneo, Corporate Responsibility and Government Relations Manager, Whirlpool EMEA – “We are glad to support the EU Plastics Strategy and contribute to further reducing plastic waste and the use of recycling plastics. Our voluntary pledges show that we are serious about being at the forefront of industry efforts to move to circular economy”.


Recycled WEEE with quality certification

The creation of new products from recycled materials is a demanding process that requires high-level expertise and collaboration across the industry and local authorities. From the waste collection to the design and the distribution of new products, a constant control during the whole process assures their quality.

Having the know-how, Coolrec is doing a great job in the recovery of old household appliances, with the cooperation of the home appliance industry. Various materials such as iron, aluminium, copper, precious metals and plastics are recycled to bring into a new life, products like vacuum cleaners and coffee machines. What is more, smaller spare parts of household appliances are recycled, preventing any waste from leaking into the environment.

What makes the difference in Coolrec is the maintenance of high qualitative standards. Is it feasible? Certainly. Obtaining the WEEELABEX (Waste of Electric and Electronic Equipment LABel of Excellence) certification, reassures the utilisation of excellent WEEE facilities that comply with the regulatory standards.

Under the umbrella of the Renewi alliance, Coolrec is one more success story towards the Circular Society.

How can your new boiler reduce your energy bills?

Home appliances tend to be more and more environmentally friendly over time. Constant improvements on appliances have been making them much more energy efficient and sustainable. Moreover, they can contribute to cut down on your expenses.

Boilers have become much more efficient

One relevant example of an energy efficient appliance are boilers which control the heating of your house and your water. Heating accounts for nearly 60% of your total energy consumption, shows Energy Saving Trust. A latest technology boiler (A-rated) is 90% more energy efficient than the previous ones, ensuring the most appropriate temperature at the best time, further adds the Consumer Reports organisation. As a result, your bills can be radically cut, and you can contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Water heating becomes easier

Has water heating process become much faster? It’s a fact that in some seconds, you can have warm water without spending much energy and time. Apart from this, the more efficient your boiler is, the less water you spend.

Innovation: What comes next?

Heating and cooling systems can have a very promising future for energy savings. For instance, a new smart energy control system, combined with an electrically driven hybrid heat pumpand a second heater (boiler) provide the most efficient heating and cooling of buildings. 

More concretely, when the electricity demand is high, the heating system can switch from the heat pump to the boiler. In doing so, they enable a higher share of renewable electricity, while limiting the costs of upgrading the grid to accommodate a high share of variable renewable sources.

These examples prove that sustainability starts firstly at home. With the best policy solutions, innovation in home appliances can play a significant role in energy efficiency.

Why to buy it? Just borrow it!

You just need them, but not for a lifetime! Many objects are very useful, but you may not need to use them for more than one-two times. Or once per year. You spend enormous sums of money to obtain them, but they end up in your loft or your basement, occupying space.

This is a common… headache for habitants who move for a short-term period to another city. Brussels is a destination for plenty of those short-term employees. Their needs vary, and it's quite common for them to search for household or leisure equipment. 

What if someone could simply borrow these objects? Things wouldn’t have been so complicated. An example of real sharing economy takes place in the heart of Brussels, showing a friendlier aspect of the institution-based European capital.

Usitoo is an initiative that brings practical solutions for those who need different kinds of objects such as kitchen, leisure, sports equipment and many other products. A library of thousands of objects is available close to your house.

For how long can you use them? For as much as you want! For one day, one week or a month. 

Save your money, think about sustainability. Circular Society starts from all of us.

It’s true: The world’s first fridge made of bioplastics has been built

A new fridge made of bioplastics has been successfully built, promising to bring a new era of innovation and sustainability in the sector of home appliances.

In particular, all the visible plastic parts in the refrigerator prototype are made of bioplastics from renewable sources, having 80% lower carbon footprint compared to the conventional plastics. The contribution of bioplastics to circular society is that, unlike ordinary plastics that are oil-based, they come directly from renewable resources, such as corn or sugarcane, as well as they are recyclable.

The ambitious project was developed by Electrolux, as a part of its strategy to create more sustainable home appliances.

“We are very excited and proud to have developed the world’s first bioplastic concept fridge, which is truly groundbreaking. Our ambition is to develop even more innovative, sustainable home appliances that we might see on the market in the future”, said Jan Brockmann, Chief Operations Officer at Electrolux.

Electrolux has already committed to materials efficiency through the use of post-consumer recycled plastics, such as Carborec®, a plastic compound based on recycled polypropylene, extending the lifetime of plastic coming from non-renewable resources. The bioplastic refrigerator is still in development and there is currently no timeframe set for when the product will be officially launched on the market.

“Sustainability is part of the Electrolux business strategy and we are dedicated to innovate for more sustainable products and to reduce our carbon footprint. This prototype is unique and helps us deliver on our purpose to shape living for the better,” said Henrik Sundström, Vice President Sustainability at Electrolux.

Furniture from recycled plastics? It's possible!

Plastic waste is increasing all around the world, attracting more and more the attention of national authorities, environmental organisations and industries. The prevention of plastics from ending up in the environment becomes one of the top priorities of regulators, as well as the public demands more action.

But in order to tackle this issue, shouldn’t action start firstly from ourselves? This was the idea behind Plastic Whale that made real a very challenging project, which required the collection of plastic waste from the canals of Amsterdam. The aim of the initiative was to use the recycled plastic and to use it for the production of long life products.

And the result? Impressive! Inspired from the shape of whales, they designed modern furniture like tables, chairs and lamps, made just of plastic bottles fished in the canals, proving that when it comes to circularity of plastics... sky is the limit!

Stop talking, let’s start doing! That’s the moto of Plastic Whale that aims to expand its message all around the world.