At Prevex, we did our first product life cycle analyses back in 2020. As soon as we had the results it became clear what we needed to do to cut our CO2 emissions: to look for new raw materials for our products.
The raw material is by far the biggest source of CO2 emissions in our production. This is evident in the figure below, as raw material usage falls under Scope 3. Phasing out virgin plastics and replacing it with recycled plastics is therefore the single most important thing we are able to do to reduce our carbon footprint.
When using 65% rPP in our water traps, we save 1.8 million litres of fossil oil each year.
We began a series of test runs to find out what we needed to do in order to be able to switch to recycled polypropylene (rPP). We also wanted to find the optimal amount of rPP, since we did not want to risk product quality. Our products need to last for at least 25 years without leakage, and any actions lowering their lifespan would naturally be counterproductive from a sustainable point of view.
After thorough testing, we found out that 65% rPP is the best raw material mix at the moment. By 2025, we aim to use a raw material with 90% rPP.
We wanted to move rapidly and decided to switch to recycled polypropylene by the end of 2022 in all our water traps. We have reached this target as planned, although it has required a lot of trials and errors, new machinery and substantial efforts from the whole organization.
At the end of 2022, 45% of the polypropylene we use was recycled. We use pre-consumer rPP, which is the cleanest form of recycled PP available. There are still some challenges with variations in quality between different rPP batches, but luckily, modern machinery can automatically adjust itself to these variations.
Read about how our bestselling water trap Smartloc was relaunched with recycled PP
After having switched to rPP in all our products, we now have our eyes set on 2025. By the end of that year, 90% of all polypropylene we use will be recycled. Reaching this goal will require a lot of additional testing.
We have chosen to first and foremost switch to rPP, as PP accounts for the majority of our raw material usage. In addition, we are constantly looking to switch to other recycled plastic raw materials as well, like rTPE. This is an ongoing process where the results depend on the raw material question.
Some products produced by Prevex are made of metals. Based on the results in our LCAs, we will replace metals with plastics in many cases, since the carbon footprint of plastics is generally lower. This is mainly due to plastics’ lower density and weight.
Another problem with metals, especially regarding brass, is that they may be poisonous. We have therefore decided to replace most of the brass with recycled plastics by the end of 2024. We have also decided to end the production of a product containing large amounts of brass.
The use of recycled raw materials goes for all our products, including packaging. Packaging accounts for 4% of Prevex raw material usage. At the end of 2022, all our packaging consisted of polyethylene film made of 51% recycled raw material. This equals savings of 200 tons of CO2 emissions per year. We started by using pre-consumer recycled plastics, but are in the process of switching to post-consumer recycled plastics.
PE film vs rPE 51% film
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