Each year, Stena Recycling’s expertise recycles 3 million tonnes of material in Sweden. Materials that were previously thought useless can live again and become a source of value.
Peter Andersson, head of Business Area Metall/Ferrous, takes a tour of a manufacturer’s facility and quickly sees that they are putting different kinds of stainless steel into the same container.
- Mixing materials like this is losing the company money. Correctly sorted stainless steel is worth SEK 12 per kilo and only SEK 3 if it’s mixed together, he says.
Production waste is difficult to avoid in the manufacturing industry and, for the layman, it’s hard to know its value or how to handle it properly. Waste has significant value, either through the application of advanced recycling technology or simply by sorting it more precisely.
- Waste can generate substantial income. One of our customers purchases iron from three different suppliers. Our analysis of the material revealed that some of it had very low manganese content. Despite this being of a higher grade than the rest, it was mixed with all the other iron in the same container. Separating different grades released valuable resources that the company didn’t know they had and increased their revenue, says Peter Andersson.
Peter and his team of experts continue to find hidden value by making regular visits - analyzing and identifying grades, initiating new sorting procedures, changing containers and training staff.
- The greatest saving I was able to make was for a customer who worked with silver-plated metals. They were only getting 1 SEK per kilo for their production waste, even though it contained valuable silver. After working together on an analysis, we could increase that figure to SEK 50 per kilo, says Peter Andersson.
Stena Recycling is aware of a growing interest within the manufacturing industry to improve sustainability and many companies are seeking to pursue a zero landfill policy. Fulfilling these aims means moving material up the waste hierarchy, transforming waste into resources and effectively communicating sustainability through environmental and financial reporting.
- At Stena Recycling, we believe that everything is a resource. Nothing that can be recycled should end up on a landfill site. It’s always possible to find recycling alternatives…and it generates income, says Peter Andersson.
Building a more sustainable society involves turning waste into valuable raw materials, which, in turn, become new products. Producing 1 tonne of iron by recycling reduces carbon dioxide emissions by over 1 tonne. Stena Recycling is seeking to use resources more efficiently and reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.
When visiting a company’s premises, Peter Andersson and his team start by investigating and analyzing the current challenges and working with the customer to identify development opportunities.
- We take a long-term approach to the partnerships we form with our customers. We can quickly identify the most pressing problems and create new procedures to solve them, but, ultimately, it’s about continuous improvement work and optimizing processes, says Peter Andersson.
Developing the most effective solutions and building a strong collaboration takes time. It means we must be responsive, creative and, above all, open. An important part of our collaborative work is to increase recycling and sustainability knowledge within the customer’s workforce by offering on-site staff training.
- Improved sorting procedures offer better monitoring of resource flows. One general tip is to use a container for each different type of material, says Peter.