Plastics play key role in new appliance sustainability standards

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: June 8, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Consumer Products, Sustainability, Materials, Suppliers

WASHINGTON (June 8, 12:35 p.m. ET) — Plastics can play a big role in a new sustainability standard for household refrigerators, according to an industry expert.

“There is no question plastics are covered in a lot of places in the standard,” said Wayne Morris, vice president of technology and operational standard for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers in Washington, one of the main authors of the standard, which awards points in several areas as measured against best practice.

The new standard is based on a lifecycle approach for identifying environmental impacts in energy during use, materials, end-of-life, performance and manufacturing. It was developed with the assistance of CSA Group’s Ottawa, Ontario, office and UL Environment of Marietta, Ga.

According to the standard, companies earn points for sustainability achieved in the several areas.

Plastics are a key material for constructing refrigerators. Polyurethane foam, for example, is key to the appliance’s energy efficiency. Choice of PUR blowing agent also affects the appliance’s rating. More points are awarded if the blowing agent has low contribution to greenhouse gases. Plastics are also widely used in interior components, where recycled content is possible to earn extra points, Morris said in a telephone interview on June 7, when AHAM announced the standards.

Use of recycled materials in refrigerator packaging is another area refrigerator producers can gain recognition.

To earn high points, a refrigerator producer needs to inventory materials that may be of environmental concern, Morris explained.

“For example, for certain flame retardants a company should show progress on reducing these materials of concern.” Flame retardants should meet new stringent standards in Europe. Companies also are urged to account for the amount of greenhouse emissions they generate and those of its suppliers as part of the lifecycle analysis.

“Companies earn points if they and their Tier 1 suppliers have environmental management systems,” Morris added.

Companies also gain points from reducing the amount of materials and weight of their products, another area where lightweight plastics might play a bigger role.

End-of-life disposal of a refrigerator can be rated higher when plastics are used because they could be recyclable. More extensive dismantling and recycling of the various construction materials would be in a company’s favor.

AHAM worked with CSA Standards and UL Environment to come up with the standard. They will form committees to move the standards through the United States and Canadian accreditation processes. Federal agency Environment Canada was a stakeholder in the process so far.

The new standard is a mouthful, AHAM 7001-2012/ CSA SPE-7001-12/UL 7001.


Comments

Plastics play key role in new appliance sustainability standards

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: June 8, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

2014 US machinery shipments up 6 percent

November 25, 2014 5:17 pm ET

Through the first nine months of 2014 U.S. shipments of primary plastics equipment — for injection molding, blow molding and extrusion —...    More

Image

Globalization brings sizable growth, primarily in Asia

November 25, 2014 1:40 pm ET

In 1990, the year after Plastics News published our first issue, there were 33,000 injection molding machines sold worldwide. Fast forward to 2013,...    More

Image

Taipei Plas vandal and German firm trade lawsuits

November 25, 2014 1:26 pm ET

Taiwan businessman Karma Tang, who splashed red paint at German firm Baumüller GmbH's Taipei Plas booth, is in a messy legal battle.    More

Image

Auxiliary equipment maker Ross expands in India

November 25, 2014 1:12 pm ET

U.S. auxiliary equipment maker Charles Ross & Son Co. is expanding in India, opening a new plant early next year in Pune.    More

Image

World Plastics Council takes on sustainbility for its initial priorities

November 25, 2014 9:51 am ET

The recently formed World Plastics Council (WPC) has set marine debris and post-consumer recycling and energy recover as its initial top priorities.    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events