Smart waste management for Plastal


With smart environmental work, Plastal has increased the recycling rate and efficiency of its lean-controlled production. It has provided more competitiveness in the tough automotive industry. We are constantly looking for ways to improve, says Annie Arnold, environmental and quality coordinator.

Plastal manufactures advanced plastic systems for cars. In the Gothenburg factory, 400 people work in three shifts so production never stands still. Here bumpers are injection moulded, lacquered and mounted with Volvo as the largest customer. It's a high tempo. The employees move methodically and smoothly between the different stations. 


Plastal works actively with improvements to its production chain, with everything from resource efficiency in manufacturing to waste management.

– Lean and 5S are included in all flows, even for waste. They are our tools for order and efficiency, says Annie Arnold. You should know where to throw away and how to sort everything. We also want a high recycling rate.

The environmental work is clearly visible in the factory. There are new waste maps all over the building. All types of waste are clearly marked, color coordinated and have different symbols which show the flow from each individual workplace all the way out to the waste station.

– Avfall skapas på flera ställen i tillverkningen. Dels har vi plastavfall och så kallade PP-plastklumpar, en biprodukt när vi formsprutar, dels kasserade höljen som en restprodukt. Ibland tvingas vi även kassera inköpta komponenter, och från lackeringen kommer färgslam som vi måste hantera. Mjukplast är en stor utmaning, inte minst eftersom komponenter från våra underleverantörer är förpackade i det.

- Waste is created in several places in manufacturing. Firstly, we have plastic waste and so-called PP plastic lumps, a by-product when we are injection moulding and partly discarded casings as a residual product. Sometimes we are also forced to discard purchased components, and from the lacquering we get paint sludge that we have to deal with. Soft plastic is a big challenge, not least because components from our subcontractors are packed in it.

Environmental action had given results

Ett stort tonnage farligt avfall har klassat om till brännbart och flera avfallsslag som tidigare brändes materialåtervinnas nu istället. På avfallsstationen utanför fabriken kör gula truckar med avfall, som töms i stora blå containrar. Här finns också en av marknadens största träkrossar och ny utrustning för komprimering. Det ger ökad kapacitet för hantering av wellpapp och brännbart avfall. De minskade volymerna innebär färre transporter, ökad återvinningsgrad och minskade kostnader. Plastal har på detta sätt skapat sig ännu bättre förutsättningar i sin tuffa bransch.

A large tonnage of hazardous waste has been converted to burnable waste and several types of waste material that were previously burned have been recycled instead. Yellow trucks take the waste from the waste station outside the factory and empty into large blue containers. Here there is also one of the market's largest wood crushers plus new equipment for compression which provide increased capacity for handling corrugated cardboard and combustible waste. The reduced volumes mean fewer transports, increased recycling rates and reduced costs. In this way Plastal has created even better conditions in a tough industry.

- We like to find deviations. It is part of our mindset, because then we see where there is the opportunity to make further improvements, says Annie Arnold. In order to be competitive in the automotive industry, efficiency, winning and saving time and eliminating all waste are required. It is a constant part of our daily lives, and that is how we reduce our costs.


Plastal fick en helhetslösning för sin avfallshantering med Stena Recycling. Stena Recycling har levererat containers, miljöcontainer, kärl för den interna logistiken samt emballage för farligt avfall. På avfallsstationen utanför fabriken finns numera kraftigare komprimerande utrustning som innebär ökad kapacitet för hanteringen av trä, wellpapp och brännbart avfall. Med hjälp av Stena Recycling har färgslam, som tidigare var klassat som farligt avfall, blivit omklassat till ej farligt avfall och går idag till energiåtervinning.

Plastal gets a complete solution for its waste management with Stena Recycling. Stena Recycling has delivered containers, environmental vessels, containers for internal logistics and packaging for hazardous waste. At the waste station outside the factory there is now more powerful compressing equipment, which means increased capacity for the handling of wood, corrugated board and combustible waste. With the help of Stena Recycling, color sludge, which was previously classified as hazardous waste, has been reclassified to non-hazardous waste and today goes to energy recovery.

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Annie Arnold, Environmental and quality coordinator at Plastal

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