Blum - Moving Ideas for Sustainability

48 Resources Plastic as a resource What might the environmentally-friendly use of plastic look like? Plastic has fallen into disrepute in recent years, as it has become associated with too much waste, too little recycling and the unsustainable consumption of oil. And yet, due to its malleability and versatility, it is now indispensable in the fields of medicine, water supply, hygiene and food technology. At Blum, we use this durable material because its excellent recyclability means that its life cycle analysis is fundamentally positive. Indeed, plastic offers many advantages due to its mechanical and electrical properties. The first plastic injection-moulding machines were commissioned in the 1970s, and we at Blum now process 11 different polymers from over 150 different granulates. We produce over 2500 different plastic parts, all of which are free from harmful plasticisers, phthalates and PVC. Wherever possible, we grind the sprues and immediately recycle the waste plastic, putting it straight back into the injection moulding system. By doing so, we succeed in using 98 % of the material. In the case of powder coat- ings, any powder that does not remain on the part is also fed back in using a cyclone system. This results in a waste rate of only 2 %. Our canteen is already using petroleum-free yoghurt pots and spoons made from polyactide. Employees also make a daily contribution by reusing cups from the coffee machine, because ultimately the most resources are saved through reuse. Cardboard Zinc Steel Plastic Aluminium Relative percentages determined as average values across the entire product portfolio (by weight): Usage rates for raw materials Use of materials at Blum When it comes to resource efficiency, every year we save 1200 tonnes or 50 fully-loaded trucks delivering steel and removing waste. Raw material Usage rate Zinc 98.2 % Cardboard 95.9 % Steel 78.9 % Plastic (granulate, mas- ter batches and coating powder) 94.5 % 6% 2% 84% 7% 1%