Electrolux has built a prototype refrigerator using, where possible, bio-based plastics. ‘But we still have a lot to learn about these materials,' said Marco Garilli, innovation expert at Electrolux during an interview at the 2018 NatureWorks Innovation takes Root Conference in San Diego.
‘We know how conventional plastics work,' explained Garilli. “We use PP, for washing machine tubs, for example, and POM in the aggressive environment of the dishwasher; PS in refrigerators, as well as PA, TPE and ABS.” In the interests of sustainability, he said, Electrolux was also exploring the use of recycled plastics and potential use of bio-based plastics for durable applications.
For Electrolux, ‘acting sustainably' is a fundamental strategic driver, along with creating better experiences for everyday life and continuous improvement.
“Among the various parameters of sustainability, we have chosen to focus on the parameter of our CO2 footprint,” said Garilli. “We use LCA as the tool to quantify the impact of our appliances over their entire lifetime. In the circle: raw materials – process – produce components and our appliances – distribute our products – their use by the consumer, which strongly impacts on the life cycle – and then disposal, the choice of materials can have a very big effect.”
With that in mind, the company decided to explore the impact of the use of biobased materials versus conventional plastics.