The recycling service with brains and heart
Recycle now and do some good
The recycling stations can be found in the kitchens on each floor of ABB Cityport, as well as in the Factory.
What we collect in Mr. Green recycling stations
With a collection rate of nearly 90%, Switzerland is practically the world champion when it comes to PET recycling. The PET bottle, made of petroleum or natural gas, is probably the most popular packaging for drinks. In Switzerland alone, more than 1.6 billion PET beverage bottles are consumed a year. The good news is that PET is almost fully recyclable and does not lose its functional properties in the recycling process, which is why it can be processed into new beverage bottles. Recycling PET, rather than incinerating it, can reduce the impact on our climate by 75%.
ALUMINIUM AND NESPRESSO CAPSULES
When we hear «aluminium recycling» we usually think of cans, but we shouldn’t forget about aluminum tubes, foils, trays or any other kind of packaging marked with the aluminum symbol. Nespresso capsules can be recycled, too: the aluminum is melted down and the coffee grinds are turned into compost.
Aluminium is almost entirely recyclable, which is why aluminum is a true resource and anything but trash. It maintains its quality throughout the entire recycling process and can be reused. And when aluminum is recycled rather than produced from virgin bauxite ore, up to 95% of the energy needed can be saved, along with 9 kg of CO2 per kilogram of aluminum created. Manufacturing secondary aluminum is financially interesting, too, because the primary aluminum industry has long been unable to keep up with worldwide demand.
PLASTIC IS FANTASTIC
While most single-use plastic packaging unfortunately ends up in the trash, a lot of it can be recycled nowadays. Mr. Green stations collect all food packaging made of plastic: convenience and take-out/take-away containers, molded trays and fruit trays; different kinds of plastic bottles, including white milk bottles; foil from carrier bags, shrink wrap and grocery bags; and empty Tetra Pak containers and drink cartons from milk, juice, iced tea and so on.
Around 20% of plastic packaging is made from different plastics. For that reason, it makes sense to separate the plastics by removing, for example, the lid or the plastic cover from a plastic tray. This will help the sorting machine easily distinguish each kind of plastic. Most of the plastic waste collected (about 70%) can be recycled and fed back into the raw materials cycle. The rest is utilized as fuel in a local cement plant. Our partner company, InnoRecycling in Eschlikon, generates about 16,000 tons of recycled plastic granules every year. Compared with plastic waste incineration at a plant, up to 3 kg of CO2 can be saved per kilogram. As one kilogram of granules made from recycled plastic can replace one kilogram of primary plastic granules, this seems like a very balanced plan!
It makes sense to buy good products, own them for a long time and try not to create trash in the first place. As is the case with everything we buy, use and then dispose of, there are not only raw materials to consider, but also all of the energy and resources needed to produce and recycle them.
Sustainability at ABB
Sustainability is part of ABB corporate strategy and ABB culture. For example, ABB HQ and ABB Switzerland will be powered by 100% renewable hydropower electricity from January 2020 onwards. Another example is ABB’s 2013–2020 target to reduce the share of non-recyclable waste by 25% globally. Every ABB site can contribute, including HQ.
This is why ABB HQ had Mr. Green conduct a waste analysis to find out what kind of trash was being created. One finding was that paper towels from the bathrooms and napkins made up nearly one-quarter of all waste, resulting in the installation of new kinds of dispensers. Another was that a lot of packaging that could be recycled ended up in the trash. With Mr. Green recycling stations, these materials can now be separated, collected and sent for recycling.
This is good news for the environment. Recycling saves energy and leads to lower CO2 emissions compared with waste incineration and the manufacturing of new materials. And these precious raw materials can live on in the form of new products.
ABB HQ is breaking new ground in terms of recycling. Starting on November 4th, each floor will have its own recycling station for nearly all kinds of packaging. Mr. Green will then sort what has been collected and have it recycled. In this way, ABB HQ employees will be playing a direct role in helping to conserve resources.
As before, paper and cardboard can be recycled next to the printers in each wing of the building. By the way: Post-it notes also belong in the paper recycling.
Full water power ahead
Starting in January 2020, ABB Headquarters and all of ABB Switzerland will be sourcing 100% sustainable, green electricity from hydropower.
New paper towel dispensers will be installed. They make it easier to take only one paper towel at a time and reduce unnecessary waste.
Trash cans at desks – sharing is caring
Less trash hopefully means fewer trash cans, which is why neighboring desks will now share a trash can.
Batteries and electronic scrap
There are different battery recycling containers on each floor. Electronic scrap waste can be dropped off at the IS Helpdesk on the 1st floor.