Recycled ocean plastics are being transformed into light switches and sockets.
Schneider Electric’s Merten Ocean Plastic Switch, made of recycled fishing nets, won the CES 2022 Innovation Award in the sustainability category at this year’s trade show currently being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Abandoned or lost fishing equipment makes up about 10 per cent of the plastic waste in the world’s oceans. Schneider Electric, which has offices in Australia, partnered with DSM, a global leader in health, nutrition and bioscience, to transform fishing net waste into high-grade technical plastic that can be used in electrical devices.
YiFu Qi, Executive Vice-President of Global Home and Distribution at Schneider Electric, said: “The challenge of weaning the world from our addiction to plastic waste might seem impossible. But change is possible”.
“The collaboration between DSM and Schneider Electric is a world first and a game-changer for the market. We hope to pave the way for even more sustainable innovations in the electrical solutions industry and spark inspiration and innovation for years to come.
“The future of production in the electrical solutions sector has to be green. Using the right materials for the job from the outset is central to creating a circular economy in this industry.”
DSM collaborates with local communities in India to recover and collect discarded fishing nets from the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. The 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 the new compound is 82 per cent lower than the traditional nylon 6 used in similar products. The final material also contains 15 per cent glass fibre to add durability and meet electrical safety requirements and standards.
Helen Mets, Executive Vice-President Materials at DSM, said: “Tackling the global challenge of ocean plastics will require our entire industry to step up and find innovative solutions to drive a circular transformation. Through our collaboration with Schneider Electric, we aspire to take a small step towards maintaining healthier marine life, litter-free beaches, and cleaner oceans and the initiative also supporting local livelihoods and create jobs”.
“Together, we can create demand for re-used plastics and help find a second home for discarded recyclable materials.”
Schneider Electric has also revamped its product packaging, eliminating all single-use plastic and non-recyclable materials from the packaging process.