Plastics saves the future through spiral economy
One of the big and important issues for both industry and individuals is how we can increase sustainability and recycle the material that exists today. One solution is to create new life for previously used material. Scanfill calls it a spiral economy.
Spiral economy is Scanfills idea of a sustainable plastic cycle, where the plastic product is recycled to become a material used in another product in a different segment, as long as possible before it is transformed into energy. This means that a food packaging can become a part of a car, then end up as a flowerpot. It is different from circular economy, where you strive to use recycled packaging to make new ones.
„There’s no reason why a shampoo bottle must be recycled into another shampoo bottle. We need to see a far bigger picture than that. It’s about the right materials being used in their right places,“ says Oscar Hugoson, Executive Vice President at Scanfill.
Increased life-span of plastics
Scanfill AB, a family company, is headquartered in Ystad and is part of the Polykemi Group. The company’s overall business concept is to offer sustainable packaging materials. They have been working for several years to create valuable raw materials from waste. By collaboration between different industries and reuse of our resources, they see opportunities for a sustainable future.
„For us, it’s important that the plastic is used as optimally and as long as possible. We must also dare to open our minds and see the possibilities instead of the limitations,“ explains Oscar Hugoson.
In a spiral economy, the material can be reproduced where the qualities is best fitted and increases the life span with several years. The life-span of plastic is namely limited depending on what kind of plastic is being recycled. Plastic packaging can generally be recycled up to seven times before it will lose those mechanical properties needed for it to be used in a product; at which point it is better to convert it into energy.
The demand and value of upgraded recycled plastic
Another advantage of dividing the recycled plastic to different kinds of segments or industries, by the spiral economy concept, is that the demand of recycled material becomes higher. The demand gets higher when compared to materials that needs to stay in the same sector to keep a closed loop recycling process, where limitations often are set by legislation.
With the correct handling and conditions, a company can, through compounding, use recycled material and upgrade it to requested specifications. In that way the value of the recycled plastic is raised. In addition, recycled plastic reduces carbon dioxide emissions by at least 70-90 % when compared to new oil based plastics.
„Please don’t regard a waste material as mere garbage. It has a new area of use and there are exciting new business opportunities. Recycling is never the end of the chain, it’s the beginning of something new,“ says Oscar Hugoson.
The possibilities with a more open mindset
Scanfill have made a video about spiral economy, which shows the possibilities offered by a more open mindset, unlike a closed loop where packaging can only be recycled into new packaging.
- Polykemi AB