Recycling scheme Tool recycling contributes to circular economy

Editor: Alexander Stark

UK — Tool manufacturer Seco Tools wants to make a strong contribution to the circular economy, by offering a recycling scheme for their products. The company offers to buy back used tools to recycle or repurpose them.

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Seco Tools offers to buy back tools that have reached the end of their productive lives and recycles or repurposes them into new tools.
Seco Tools offers to buy back tools that have reached the end of their productive lives and recycles or repurposes them into new tools.
(Source: Seco Tools)

Recycling will play a key role in reaching Seco Tools ambitious goal of being 90 % circular by the year 2030, with a number of broad changes to processes and business models leading the way. “It’s a challenging target, but we see this as very important for our company and our business,” says Ted Forslund, Sustainability & Audit Coordinator at Seco Tools. “What is good for Seco Tools is that we already have very good recycling processes, so now it’s about creating a good partnership with our clients so that they understand the value of us buying back tools, so that it becomes a closed circle where nothing goes to waste.”

Due to the nature of the business of Seco Tools, the company sees itself in a strong position to change that paradigm by buying back tools that have reached the end of their productive lives and recycling or repurposing them into new tools. “If we increase that kind of trade where we buy back old and get customers to understand the advantages of it, we can reduce the climate impact as we won’t need to use new materials and metals. It’s a win-win in many ways,” says Ted Forslund. The tools the company produces using recycled materials are of the same high standard — there is no drop-off in quality.

Recycling is one important component, but there are other aspects to the circular economy, the tool manufacturer takes into consideration. One of those is the lifecycle of their products: How can they be designed so that they last a little longer, and that they can be recycled when they do reach the end of their useful lives? How can the be produced using renewable energy and sustainable supply chains?

Recycling helps in terms of minimizing waste, but it is far from the only way to do so. There is a wide range of areas that can be analyzed with a view to stopping the “leakage” of valuable resources — delivery chain logistics, sorting, warehousing, risk management, power generation, and even molecular biology and polymer chemistry. Seco Tools has identified cost-efficient and better-quality collection and treatment systems as well as effective segmentation of end-of-life products as important aspects of circular design.

One of the main problems in addressing issues to do with the environment and climate change has been the sheer scale of the task, but Ted Forslund believes that the Seco Tools goal of 90 % circular by 2030 is attainable. “It is essential to work with our suppliers and customers in order to take on the global challenge. If we do, we can create more value with less waste within a safe operating space for our planet—again, it’s a win-win situation,” he concludes.

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