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 Materials, Suppliers, Sustainability, Consumer Products

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

Study: 100 times less plastic than expected polluting ocean surface

July 23, 2014 3:46 pm ET

There's as much as 100 times less plastic floating on surface of the world's oceans than would be expected given the mushrooming use of the material...    More

Image

Asia to remain chemical giant but US shale will bring competition

July 23, 2014 1:00 pm ET

A new IHS Chemical report on global spending for chemical production predicts capacity additions will peak in 2014 at $120 billion and then will...    More

Image

DuPont quarterly sales drop, income rises

July 23, 2014 12:46 pm ET

DuPont Co.'s sales and net income experienced slight changes for the second quarter 2014, as operating earnings dropped to $1.17 per share in the...    More

Image

Celanese to expand production in Brazil

July 23, 2014 11:15 am ET

Celanese Corp., the Irving, Texas-based chemicals and specialty materials company, has announced that it will expand its manufacturing capabilities...    More

Image

Contigo, Avex buy lets Newell Rubbermaid leapfrog new bottle development

July 22, 2014 4:11 pm ET

Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is ready to accelerate its move into the reusable water bottle business with the purchase of two on-the-go drinkware brands.    More

Market Reports

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

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

More Events