Reuse and recycling
By 2030, our goal is that 80 percent of the materials we use in our products should be recyclable. To ensure that this goal is met, we have categorised the materials we use in our products and we estimate that today, approximately 50 percent of the material is recyclable.
For Patient Handling, we have divided the materials per product category and specified how they should be recycled. Much of the material we use in our products is recyclable, such as steel, aluminium, copper and wood. Battery recycling is also established in the parts of the world where we conduct sales. The material we need to focus on and that is harder to recycle is plastic, which we use for parts of our products and as packaging material. A first step is to, in 2019, investigate whether the plastic we use in packaging can be replaced with a form of bioplastic without losing function. By choosing packing material that is entirely or partially sourced from biomass, we can save fossil resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In the Netherlands, we have implemented a system for refurbishing stairlift seats and motors, which are then sold as used in the Dutch market. In the UK, we refurbish battery packs and sell them as used. A portion of our discontinued transfer and lifting products are donated to the organisation Resources Without Borders and we pay for the shipping on products from Sweden to India, where they are used in hospitals.
Reducing packaging material
A project in Kingswinford, the UK, is ongoing to reduce the amount of packaging material and to exchange some for more environmentally friendly alternatives. During the year, we have changed the packaging material for the best-selling stairlift rail, reducing cardboard waste in Kingswinford by 12 percent. Initiatives will begin in 2019 to exchange existing foam packaging material to a more environmentally friendly cardboard alternative.