Oct 14, 2021

Adding value with product durability and recycling in the circular economy

Cecilia Mickos
Cecilia Mickos
Sustainability manager

In a more and more resource-constrained world, Neles is committed to finding new solutions to advance the circular economy. By providing long-lasting products and product life cycle services, we are helping our customers reach their sustainability targets. To decrease the environmental impact of our own operations, we use recycled materials and recover production waste in our manufacturing processes. Various recycling initiatives implemented with our partners make use of excess materials, such as used workwear or wooden packaging.

The role of Neles in its customers' circular economy value chain

Helping our customers capture value

Neles’ valve solutions play a part throughout our customers’ circular economy value chain. By working closely with our customers, we can understand their sustainability objectives and determine how we can help them reach the set targets.

Our durable products help process industry companies process natural resources and recycle materials to create valuable products.

Our durable products help process industry companies process natural resources and recycle materials to create valuable products. During recycling processes, our valve solutions are used to recover usable resources or energy from waste, or create new by-products, such as bio diesel produced from waste flows.

Extending the product life cycle and decreasing environmental impact starts with designing products that are long-lasting and have a modular structure that allows for the addition or replacement of components as needed. With our repair and maintenance service, we can optimize the durability of wear parts and extend the product life, while upgrading existing components to help improve product performance. 

On top of product design and life-cycle services, sourcing, manufacturing, and logistics play an important part in optimizing our customers’ circular value chain. Sourcing recyclable materials, maximizing environmental efficiency, and recycling in manufacturing, as well as optimizing logistics through our global presence and planning operations efficiently all help our customers create value and reach their sustainability targets.

One of the latest examples of how we support our customers’ circular value chain is Klabin, Brazil’s largest paper manufacturer, exporter, and recycler. Klabin’s Ortigueira mill produces short-fiber pulp, long-fiber pulp, and fluff pulp. With the help of Neles’ performance solutions, process variabilities were reduced within two years from a variable average of 25–30% to an average of 1.5%, bringing the needed reliability and achieving the company goal of chemical savings.

Let the future flow – valves play an important role in our everyday lives now and in the future.

Optimizing operations for the circular value chain

Apart from helping our customers capture value in their circular chain, we continuously look for ways to improve our own value chain and circular economy efforts.

In valve manufacturing, we use steel castings made of recycled material. We collect and recycle our production waste, for example by sending metal scrap from machining for reuse by other companies.

Within procurement and sourcing, there are possibilities to source recycled materials and to increase the usage of renewable energy and bio-based or potentially fully recyclable materials. Partnering with new sustainable companies within the circular ecosystem helps us find new opportunities to increase reuse or recycling, and in this way turn our waste or by-products into usable resources or energy for other businesses.

Within logistics, our packaging instructions recommend recycling packaging whenever possible and provide specifications for package sizes and forms to avoid storing non-usable packaging material.

When selecting a new supplier or assessing our current suppliers, sustainability is always a priority – on top of health and safety.

When selecting a new supplier or assessing our current suppliers, sustainability is always a priority – on top of health and safety. One of the criteria in choosing a supplier is that they recycle their packaging material and that the packaging they use is made from post-consumer recycled materials (PCR).

Environment

Recycling used workwear, wooden packaging, and electronic equipment

There are many recycling initiatives taking place globally at Neles’ locations.

During the roll-out of the new Neles brand after the separation from Metso, we recycled around 305 kilos of old workwear with the help of the Zero Waste service of Globe Hope, an eco-design company located in Helsinki, Finland.

Burning this amount of fabric would have created 6,942 kilos of greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, when we recycled the material for reuse; the greenhouse gas emissions savings totaled 7,462 kg, which corresponds to the CO2 emissions of driving 53,000 km by car. 

In 2020, our valve technology center in Vantaa, Finland, achieved a 10% increase in its wood waste recycling resulting in hundreds of tons of wood waste being recycled.

Last year, our Helsinki factory started recycling wooden warehouse packaging with the help of a logistics partner who takes care of collecting the wood, which can then be used as a raw material for chipboard. Recycling the collected wood instead of burning it can save up to 400 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

At our Fergus Falls site in Minnesota, in the US, we recycle electronic office equipment, such as computers, computer mice and keyboards, mobile phones and monitors to a non-profit organization called PCs for People. They take care of refurbishing the recycled equipment and distributing it to the local community.

Used IT equipment from our Helsinki site is recycled to a partner who, after refurbishing, sells the laptops and workstations to consumers on their online store. Unusable equipment is taken to recycling.   

Wood chips

Committed to advancing the circular economy

Throughout our value chain, Neles is committed to finding solutions that advance the circular economy. We want to maximize the time our products, components, and materials are kept in use, and minimize and recover the waste produced in our manufacturing.And our supply chain also must meet our sustainability requirements. With our durable products, repair and maintenance, we can help our customers optimize their operations and reach their circular economy targets. 

Learn more about sustainability at Neles