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

Study: Consumers, industry EPS recycling rates on the rise

September 23, 2014 2:22 pm ET

Recycling of post-consumer and post-commercial expanded polystyrene hit an all-time high of 34 percent in 2013, according to a new report.    More

Image

Chinese mold makers say they don't worry about reshoring trends

September 23, 2014 12:05 pm ET

Reshoring may be a hot topic in U.S. manufacturing circles, but the mid-level and small players putting in appearances at this year's AsiaMold in...    More

Image

Italy's machine sector seeing growth

September 23, 2014 11:02 am ET

Italy experienced a rise in imports and exports of rubber and plastics equipment in January-June this year, said Assocomaplast, the trade association ...    More

Image

The milk man will be toting plastic bottles to UK homes in the future

September 22, 2014 11:17 am ET

The United Kingdom's largest dairy company is about to replace its final glass bottles with plastic.    More

Image

Poland's Boryszew to work with Mitsui on lightweight auto parts

September 22, 2014 10:12 am ET

European plastics car parts maker Boryszew Group has signed a letter of intent to work with the Japanese investment and trading conglomerate Mitsui & ...    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