Re­cy­cling planned from the ground up

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS - By Si­mon Wilkin­son

Since 1993 Fisher & Paykel Ap­pli­ances has been do­ing its bit as a re­spon­si­ble brand-owner by re­cy­cling old white­ware and di­vert­ing thou­sands of tonnes of ma­te­rial away from New Zealand land­fills.

On aver­age, around 25,000 ap­pli­ances are re­cy­cled through its re­cy­cling pro­gramme ev­ery year. This means that over the last 20 years the com­pany has di­verted more than half a mil­lion ap­pli­ances, or 30,000 tonnes of ma­te­rial, away from land­fill.

The smart drives from Fisher & Paykel wash­ing ma­chines are re­moved in­tact and sent to a com­pany called Eco In­no­va­tion, who use them to make a low-cost, do­mes­tic-scale, hy­dro elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tors. One Eco In­no­va­tion Pow­erSpout can pro­duce more than 8,000 kWh per year – enough to power an aver­age house­hold.

Plas­tic com­po­nents from col­lected ap­pli­ances are sep­a­rated into their dif­fer­ent poly­mers to en­able eas­ier re­cy­cling. In to­tal around 10 tonnes a month of plas­tic is re­cy­cled by the Fisher & Paykel re­cy­cling oper­a­tion. Plas­tics re­cy­cled in­clude PVC, ABS, PC, Ny­lon, PP, LDPE, HDPE and No­ryl. Some of these plas­tics are also bro­ken down into nat­u­ral and coloured to fur­ther en­able qual­ity re­cy­cling.

Fisher & Paykel’s de­sign team en­sure that all plas­tic com­po­nents in their ap­pli­ances can be iden­ti­fied by la­belling them ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard ISO1043. This helps re­cy­clers vis­ually iden­tify the dif­fer­ent poly­mers to en­able good ma­te­rial sep­a­ra­tion and max­imise re­cy­cling po­ten­tial.

The fact that the com­pany has a re­cy­cling oper­a­tion at the same site that their ap­pli­ances are de­signed also makes it easy for prod­uct de­vel­op­ers to work closely with those that fully un­der­stand the im­pli­ca­tions of de­sign de­ci­sions for end of life man­age­ment.

Sep­a­rated plas­tics are sent from F&P to plas­tics re­cy­cling com­pany Astron Plas­tics in East Ta­maki. Astron pro­cesses the HDPE, LDPE, polypropy­lene, ABS, poly­car­bon­ate and poly­styrene from Fisher and Paykel at their plant here in New Zealand. Some of the other, less com­mon and dif­fi­cult to re­cy­cle plas­tics are sent over­seas for re­cy­cling.

Poly­styrene and ABS make up about two-thirds of the F&P plas­tics re­cy­cled by Astron. These are gran­u­lated then ex­truded then re-pel­letised for sale to plas­tics man­u­fac­tur­ers as an al­ter­na­tive to vir­gin ma­te­rial for use in prod­ucts, such as plas­tic chairs.

Other poly­mers are pro­cessed in a sim­i­lar way by Astron, and may be blended with ad­di­tives and colourants be­fore be­ing re­man­u­fac­tured by the firm into ca­ble­cover.

Around 80 per cent of the plas­tic Astron re­cy­cles for F&P ends up in prod­ucts in New Zealand. The re­main­ing ma­te­rial is sold to man­u­fac­tur­ers over­seas.

The re­main­ing parts are sent to Sims Pa­cific Metals where they are pro­cessed.

Plas­tics New Zealand is the in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion for plas­tics man­u­fac­tur­ers in New Zealand. See: www.Pleas­t­ics.org.nz

Just a frac­tion of the scrap re­cov­ered that will be re­cy­cled as a part of Fisher & Paykel’s re­cy­cling pro­gramme. Photo sup­plied

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