Technological watch

Schneider adds sustainability to its fleet of smart home energy products

Schneider Electric is bringing upcycled ocean plastics to its home energy programs.

As part of the electronics event CES 2022, Schneider said it now supplies a number of products in its Merten range of frames, sockets and switches using nylon recovered from from fishing nets collected from the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.

The products also come in 100 percent recyclable packaging that has been designed to eliminate all single-use plastic and non-recyclable materials from the packaging process.

The Merten Ocean Plastics family of products won a CES 2022 Innovation Award in the Sustainability Category. Schneider Electric itself is not physically attending the Las Vegas event, which runs this year as a hybrid show Jan. 5-7, due to concerns about the spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The Merten product range is also the first in the industry to receive the international Cradle to Cradle Silver certification for responsible product design and steps taken towards a continuous circular economy. Ghost fishing gear, as the abandoned or lost fishing equipment polluting the oceans is known, makes up around 10 percent of all marine plastic waste.

The new ocean plastic products made by Schneider contribute to reducing 640,000 metric tons of discarded fishing nets each year and mark the first step in making this range of products more sustainable.

Schneider Electric partnered with Netherlands-based DSM to convert the fishing net waste into high-grade technical plastic that can be used in electrical devices. DSM collaborates with several local communities in India to recover and collect discarded fishing nets, providing a significant benefit to the local economy and environment.

The abandoned fishing nets are cut up, cleaned, extruded and inspected for quality before being sent to DSM for processing into Akulon Repurposed compound. The carbon footprint of this new compound is 82 percent lower than the traditional virgin material used in similar products, reducing the potential impact on global warming, air acidification and photochemical ozone formation in its manufacturing process, the company said.

The final material also contains 15 percent glass fiber to enhance the products’ durability and to ensure all necessary electrical safety requirements and standards are able to be met.

Publication date: 05/01/2022

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This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31