In addition to the flurry of research relating to tyre pyrolysis published at the end of 2020 and the start of this year, in February it emerged that another related study has been released. In his master’s thesis for Tampere University, Mikko Sirén explored the best technologies for turning scrap tyres into secondary raw material and value-added products. The research project started in May 2020 as an initiative of Black Donuts, the turn-key tyre industry consultants, who desired up-to-date research of the recycling of discarded tyres as part of their circular economy initiatives.
Here’s how a highly intensive manufacturer of insulation and related building products with a presence in 33 countries in Europe, North America and Asia has been on a journey towards the circular economy for over 20 years, and knows it still has far to go. Owens Corning’s website defines sustainability as being about meeting the needs of the present while leaving the world a better place for the future. It claims that sustainability is at “the heart of our business, from the products we make to the way we make them”. It declares that it “considers the future in the decisions we make today…working to expand our handprint while we reduce our footprint”. Its 2030 goals are “to be a net-positive company, one where the positive impacts of our people and products (our handprint) exceeds the negative impacts of our operations (our footprint)”.
Seco Tools is uniquely placed to make a strong contribution to the circular economy, which prioritizes separating economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and designing ways to remove waste from our system of economic activity. Though it is by no means the only aspect, recycling plays a vital role in the circular economy by asking us to look at how we use the earth’s scarce and finite resources, and what can be done to ensure that we extract maximum value and usage from them. Recycling will play a key role in reaching Seco Tools ambitious goal of being 90% circular by the year 2030, with a number of broad changes to processes and business models leading the way. “It’s a challenging target, but we see this as very important for our company and our business,” says Ted Forslund, Sustainability & Audit Coordinator at Seco Tools. “What is good for Seco Tools is that we already have very good recycling processes, so now it’s about creating a good partnership with our clients so that they understand the value of us buying back tools, so that it becomes a closed circle where nothing goes to waste.”
Think about how many different pieces of technology the average household has purchased in the last decade. Phones, TVs, computers, tablets, and game consoles don’t last forever, and repairing them is difficult and often as expensive as simply buying a replacement. Electronics are integral to modern society, but electronic waste (e-waste) presents a complex and growing challenge in the path toward a circular economy—a more sustainable economic system that focuses on recycling materials and minimizing waste. Adding to the global waste challenge is the prevalence of dishonest recycling practices by companies who claim to be recycling electronics but actually dispose of them by other means, such as in landfills or shipping the waste to other countries.