- French materials recovery company Veolia, electrical and electronic equipment e-waste collector Eco-systèmes, and appliance manufacturer Groupe SEB have partnered to make appliances from recycled materials. The process is cheaper than using virgin materials and churns out product from 45,000 metric tons of irons, kettles, and other small appliances yearly.
- Eco-systèmes delivers the e-waste to Veolia’s central France site, where it is recovered and processed for plastic, some of which moves on to Group SEB’s eastern France plant where it runs through a production circuit supporting a steam generator.
- Trials being done now may lead to new applications, Veolia said, as reported in Environmental Leader.
Innovation is key to keep the flailing recycling market moving forward, especially in the realm of e-cycling as first-generation products quickly become outdated and stockpile in masses as waste.
Newer, faster processing systems and innovative partnerships among different business types are jumpstarting the development of systems to turn electronics into useful, sustainable products rather than landfill loads.
This particular partnership in France, granting Veolia stakes in the design and manufacture of small household appliances, is a first for the materials recovery operation. The company's goal is to develop a scaled business model to replace virgin material with recycled raw material of equal quality that meets quantity and cost expectations.
Jerrold Wang, a Lux Research analyst in the firm’s sustainable building materials practice, anticipates that this collaboration model will someday have applications for more recycling industries — like the tire industry. And in some cases the collaboration can be streamlined to include the recycler and end-user only.
"In the tire industry, a company called Lehigh Technology processes waste tires into fine rubber powder tailored for specific tire manufacturers, and this company has already formed a partnership with at least two of the world’s leading tire manufacturers," said Wang.