Dedicated to safeguarding the value of natural resources
The circular economy is an alternative solution for the current linear economy based on a ‘take, make, consume and dispose of’ model. Circularity entails gradually decoupling economic activity from consuming finite resources and designing waste and pollution out of the system.
Alfa Laval is dedicated to safeguarding the value of natural resources throughout the value chain. Natural resources mean all materials and input purchased and used in production, transportation, and service. These materials are mainly metals, rubber, plastics, paper and water. Alfa Laval’s value chain entails the whole chain from the materials and products bought from the suppliers to the production, use and end of life of the products and the transportation included in this chain.
Circularity plays an important role in Alfa Laval’s current business model. For this reason, Alfa Laval works to improve understanding of the opportunities of a circular approach in the different parts of the value chain. This includes optimizing the use of resources, extending the life span of products, ensuring recycling and reuse of materials, and exploring new business models and new ways of working with the supply chain and in other partnerships. Alfa Laval has chosen to focus on three main areas to promote circularity: process efficiency, extending product life span and recycle/reuse of materials.
Efficiency in internal processes:
Specific targets are set regarding energy efficiency, water usage and waste management.
Extending product life span and ensuring high process efficiency
Alfa Laval develops high-quality, long-lasting products. Regular service of the installed products also ensures high efficiency over time.
Recycle/reuse of materials
The target for recycled materials is that at least 30 percent of the materials used in products should come from recycled sources. Based on increased transparency and data availability, we are confident to rate this target green (p. 58). Already now we have data indicating that more than 30 percent of the material used comes from recycled materials. This will allow us to re-assess the target and potentially raise our ambition.
Improving process efficiency
To improve the efficiency of our processes, we have prioritized water, energy and waste. Our targets are
– 2023: Reducing water consumption by 5% (baseline 2020) in those sites located in water-scarce locations, specifically in China, India, the US, the Middle East and Brazil.
Status 2022: 11 % decrease of water used in sites located in water stressed areas.
– 2030: 100% water recirculation in sites located in water-scarce areas.
– 2023: Improve energy efficiency (MWh/k direct hours) by 5%.
Status 2022: 7% decrease in energy consumed relative to direct hours worked.
– 2030: Continuously improve energy efficiency in production services and products.
– 2030: Maintain 85% recycling of waste.
Status 2022: 75% Recycling.
– 2030: Ensure no waste goes to landfill.
– 2026: reduce waste to landfill by > 50% (by weight) (from baseline year 2020)
Increasing efficiency in chemical recycling
Recycling of end-of-life tyres (ELT) through pyrolysis technology is one example of resource efficiency and the transition to a circular economy. Alfa Laval has sold a state-of-the-art CH300 HSS (high speed separator) module to a plant that cleans the pyrolisis oil and thus enables re-usage as new raw material in a variety of end-use areas, from the production of materials to chemicals and fuels.
Alfa Laval operates worldwide, and 40 percent of the water it consumed in 2020 came from sites located in water-scarce areas. Alfa Laval has set a long-term target to recycle 100 percent of the water used on sites located in water-scarce areas by 2030. In the short term, the target is to reduce water consumption in water stressed areas by 5 percent by 2023 (baseline 2020). During 2022, water consumption in water stressed areas decreased by 11 percent. This was the result of both the implementation of water saving projects and lower activity in one of our largest sites in China.
Alfa Laval’s waste management approach is based on the waste hierarchy, supporting circularity by favouring the prevention and reduction of waste and increasing reuse and recycling. The ambition is to divert as much waste as possible from landfill and by 2030, the target is to send zero waste to landfill (and reduce it by 50 percent by 2026). Aligned with the waste management approach and ambitions, the focus on waste reduction measures is increasing and waste management and several projects have been run during the year.
Extending product life span
Many Alfa Laval products have a lifespan of over 20 years. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that they work optimally and are easy to maintain and repair. By designing products that are easy to repair, maintain, up- grade, refurbish and remanufacture, Alfa Laval extends the lifespan of the product to save materials and other resources.
Actions for increasing life span of products and materials
– Designing products that last longer and that are easy to refurbish.
– Ensure that products are serviced, repaired and remanufactured for a longer lifespan.
The recycling and reuse of materials
To ensure that Alfa Laval moves towards a circular economy, it is crucial to find effective ways to reuse and recycle the company’s products at the end of their life span. To achieve this, work is needed both on improving the design of Alfa Laval’s products, so that they are easier to dismantle and recycle, and ensure that the materials used are compliant with relevant legislation. In addition, increasing the use of recycled materials in the products, both to reduce the carbon footprint and the use of raw materials is part of Alfa Laval’s targets. Furthermore, working with other organizations to enable reuse and recycling will be paramount to success.