Electrolux and Stena Recycling jointly developed a 100% recycled and reused vacuum cleaner. In the Electrolux/Stena Recycling cooperation we specifically had four main viewpoints: recycled material, recyclability, reuse of components, and in-depth learnings and insights.
Collaboration creates knowledge
There are a number of conditions that contribute to a successful circular collaboration. In this project, our companies benefited from cooperating between manufacturers, recyclers, and component manufacturers — all with different know-how. In a circular transformation work, it is also often necessary to delimit the collaborative projects. This is to make them both easy to overview and to conduct.
We investigated how much of the old vacuum cleaner could be reused or recycled. That knowledge is useful for the sub-goal of the project: a vacuum cleaner made from recycled post-consumer plastic. Putting it simply, both components and recycled plastic from electronics could be used for the prototype. For example, the motors had more than 80% service life left. And other parts could also be reused.
Demands on material
The material requirements for the raw material are very important for manufacturers. The recycled materials must also meet the technical requirements of the molding, as well as the manufacturer’s material specifications.
The next step was to find out how well the recycled plastic worked as raw material in the molding of new plastic parts. In just a short time, our collaborator PE Plast could determine that the recycled ABS and PP plastics met the rigorous technical requirements for use in the molding process. The investigation showed that the post-consumer recycled raw material stayed within the acceptable range in terms of material mechanical properties.
The prototype was developed in a relatively short time. This was possible through distinct goals and roles, as well as a clearly delimited project, using experts in design, product development and material knowledge ─ all working closely together.