Sustainability Report
Plastic waste from left to right: Runners, Defective component, Lumps

CASE: Mechanical recycling of plastic wastes at Ensto Tallinn plant

Due to increasing public awareness about the plastic reefs in oceans, scarcity of landfill space and declining crude oil reserves there is an enlarging demand towards cleaner production and sustainable development opportunities. At Ensto, we try to use raw materials as effective as we can and we are always looking ways to decrease our wastage. Therefore minimizing plastics waste is an important part of our operation.

In 2017 around 230 tonnes of plastics were used in Ensto's manufacturing of which 60% were used in Tallinn. At Ensto Tallinn plant plastic is used mainly in manufacturing of luminaires and enclosures.

At Ensto Tallinn plant plastic wastage is generated e.g. in molding from runners, molding defective components and from lumps which are generated during material change in the injection molding machine. Runners and defective components, which would otherwise be discarded, are collected. Depending on the material type and quality criteria, the waste parts are either mechanically recycled in our own plant or sold to a waste management company.

Mechanical recycling is physical grounding of plastic waste into small secondary fractions. The aim of mechanical recycling is to obtain regrind, which is utilized in injection molding process of new products. Only high quality plastic waste can be reused in the molding. Ensto Tallinn plant recycles only waste generated in-house because this is the only way we can ensure high quality and consistent blend of raw material.

In 2017 Ensto Tallinn plant used in products manufacturing more than 33 tons of regrind materials. 14% of the waste plastic used was polycarbonate, 52% PC with glass fiber and 34% acrylonitrile butadiene styrene copolymer. The most typical Ensto Tallinn plant products in which recycled plastic is used are electrification enclosure bases and luminaire bases. As Ensto Tallinn plant enclosures follow safety consulting and certification company Underwriters Laboratories requirements, the maximum allowed content of regrind for lids and bases is 25% by weight. On the other hand in some luminaire bases the regrind content is up to 100% by weight.

Main reason for conducting mechanical recycling is due to economic benefits comparing to virgin plastics use for manufacturing new products. Mechanical recycling also saves landfill space, energy, oil, water utilization and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.