WRAP funded research provides breakthrough in plastic recycling

Posted on 12 Nov 2008 by The Manufacturer

Italian white-goods manufacturer Indesit has become the first electrical goods maker to incorporate recycled materials into mass-produced merchandise after a successful research and development programme carried out with WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme).

The company can now take plastic from the UK waste stream, specifically Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), and make cover plates out of it for two of its washing machines.

The material has been produced using shredded plastic waste recovered from domestic fridges, and made into a high grade polymer that has a similar weight to the virgin plastic it is replacing. As a result, the CO2 emissions, cumulative cost and raw material savings from this activity are significant.

Peter Maddox, Head of Manufacturing at WRAP said: “This groundbreaking project has demonstrated that closed-loop recycling in electrical equipment from UK WEEE is commercially viable on a large scale for the first time, with no negative effect on performance. We encourage other manufacturers to follow this example.

“Our recent research has also demonstrated that some consumers are willing to buy products that contain some recycled content over those that do not – further strengthening the business argument for this approach.”

WRAP, a non-profit government funded organisation committed to lowering carbon emissions, says it has market research that suggests consumers are ready to favour products made from recycled materials. To find out more about the organisation and the services it offers manufacturers, visit www.wrap.org.uk/manufacturing.

Pictured: Mike Birch, environmental manager at Indesit, and Gerrard Fisher of WRAP with the plastic