ReNew ELP and the global home appliance brand, Grundig, have formed an alliance to recycle Grundig’s FiberCatcher® filter, at the world’s first commercial-scale HydroPRS™ plastic recycling site. Designed to capture up to 90% of synthetic microfibres released during synthetic wash cycles, Grundig’s FiberCatcher® washing machines help to protect our waterways and oceans.

Plastic particles released from synthetic clothing and textiles during wash cycles, account for up to 35%[1] of the primary microplastic entering the oceans. On average, 9 million microfibres are released into the water system after every wash.[2] Once released, wastewater treatment plants are unable to retrieve harmful microplastics, meaning a significant proportion enter the ocean as pollution. These small particles then attract organic pollutants and are consumed by ocean life, causing them to enter the food chain. The collection of synthetic microfibres at source prevents them from entering the oceans.

Grundig’s FiberCatcher® washing machines are designed to capture microfibres released during synthetic wash cycles, with each filter lasting up to six months. Once full, customers can return their filters to Grundig and order a replacement. As the filter is not suitable for traditional mechanical recycling via household collection, Grundig will then supply the full filters to ReNew ELP for recycling.

ReNew ELP, based in Teesside, North East England, are building the world’s first commercial scale hydrothermal advanced recycling site using the HydroPRS™ process, which is capable of recycling end-of-life plastic that cannot be recycled via traditional mechanical means and would otherwise be incinerated, sent to landfill, or leak into the environment as plastic pollution. HydroPRS™ converts mixed plastics back into fossil-replacement feedstocks for use in the manufacture of new plastics and other products, including sustainable road construction materials. Unlike many other recycling processes, there is no anticipated limit to the number of times the same material can be recycled with HydroPRS™.

HydroPRS™ uses supercritical water which acts as ‘molecular scissors’ to break the carbon bonds in plastic, donating hydrogen to form shorter-chain, stable liquid hydrocarbon products. The use of supercritical water gives highly efficient heat transfer, allowing for efficient scale-up and global deployment. The first 20,000 tonnes per annum phase of ReNew ELP’s site is planned for operation in late 2022.

The Grundig FiberCatcher® washing machine is one of the latest environmentally focussed developments to come from Grundig’s parent company, Arçelik. In line with the company’s ‘Respecting the World, Respected Worldwide’ ethos, Arçelik are committed to developing products that are working to create a sustainable future. Their recent RecycledTub™ range features washing machines and washer dryers that use up to 60 recycled PET bottles in the production of their tubs. This innovation utilises over 13 million plastic bottles annually at a global level, whilst also improving on manufacturing efficiencies, saving nearly 900 tonnes of CO2 annually globally.

Richard Daley, Managing Director at ReNew ELP, said:

ReNew ELP are very pleased to be able to offer a recycling route for Grundig’s FiberCatcher™. Microfibres released from household washing processes are causing huge environmental impact, and so this latest innovation from Grundig to capture those microfibres is very exciting.

 Pivotal to achieving full circularity is both the ability to keep plastics out of the natural environment, whilst also introducing sustainable recycling options, at scale, for all recovered plastic materials. ReNew ELP’s focus is plastics that cannot be recycled via traditional mechanical means, making the FiberCatcher™ an ideal product to convert into fossil-replacement feedstocks for the manufacture of new plastics and other materials.”

Andrew Mullen, Head of Sustainability and Quality at Beko plc, commented:

“Our parent company, Arçelik plc is committed to investing in sustainable technology. From using recycled fishing nets and recycled plastic bottles in our appliances, to launching our most innovative product to date to help with microplastic pollution, the Grundig FiberCatcher® washing machine, Arçelik is committed to developing products that showcase their dedication to our planet in line with their ‘Respecting the World, Respected Worldwide’ ethos.

[1] www.oceancleanwash.org
[2] www.oceancleanwash.org

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