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

Dunkin' Donuts looking at PP to replace foam cups

September 19, 2014 3:22 pm ET

Dunkin' Donuts is testing a new polypropylene coffee cup that the company believes could help boost recycling.    More

Image

Hong Kong's TK eyes expansion, may buy Nypro Tool operation

September 19, 2014 2:49 pm ET

Hong Kong-based mold maker and plastics processor TK Group (Holdings) Ltd. said it's reached a tentative agreement to buy a tooling factory in...    More

Image

Foster building medical polymers plant

September 19, 2014 1:39 pm ET

Foster Delivery Science is investing $8 million in a new plant in Putnam, Conn., for production of medical polymer blends, as well as rods, film or...    More

Image

BP to restart damaged PTA unit in limited capacity by November

September 19, 2014 10:27 am ET

British Petroleum plc may restart its fire-damaged purified terephthalic acid (PTA) feedstock unit in South Carolina in late October or early...    More

Image

Bayer spinning off plastics business

September 18, 2014 8:49 am ET

Bayer AG will spin off its MaterialScience plastics group into a separate, publicly-traded company within the next 12 to 18 months.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events