Large CO2 savings with no loss of function and quality

As one of the market’s largest suppliers of cables and accessories, it matters what considerations and measures a company like Hans Følsgaard makes regarding sustainability. When the sustainable solution is just around the corner, and has as many advantages as recycled plastic has, there is no excuse not to grab the oppertunity and get serious about the ambitions for climate neutrality.
There are hundreds of different types of plastic, all of which have different properties. Some types of plastic are suitable for re-use, others for recycling - processed and included in new products.

We talk about downcycling materials when, for example, a garden chair is converted into a driving board. In the same way, you can maintain the status of the product or even upcycle it. When plastic film, which is often used in packaging, is converted into a part of cable cover plates, this is upcycling. So sustainability is largely about how to exploit the materials’ potential. In other words, we must see it as a strength that we can find use for less clean materials.
In general plastics are vilified when it comes to sustainability. The problem is largely due to the fact that we are not very good at recycling and utilizing it for the purposes it is the most suitable for. Plastic has various qualities and can be mixed in different quantities in the recycling process. The result will often be suitable for alternative products such as Cable cover plates.

Fibia also takes a stand

The idea of using recycled plastic for cable cover plates originated in the collaboration between Fibia, Lynddahl Telecom and Følsgaard. With the massive rollout of fiber cables throughout the country, there is great potential in CO2-reducing measures in the process of delivering the cables. Fibia, which deliver large parts of the fiber that is laid out in Denmark, has entered into an agreement with Følsgaard for the supply of cover plates made of recycled plastic for the deployment of fiber networks. Fibia lays 1,800 – 2,400 km of cable cover plates from Følsgaard in the ground per year.
With a saving of 2.01 kg CO2/kg. plastic, this is a total saving of 680 tonnes of CO2 which corresponds to the annual CO2emissions of 47 Danish households*, or driving 6,126,000 km in a newer diesel car**. And that’s just by using plates made of recycled plastic - a measure that has no noticeable negative side effects.
The ambitions for further CO2 reduction are great at both Fibia, Lynddahl Telecom and Følsgaard. Among other things, local European fiber cable production has resulted in reduced freight and packaging. 
Supply Chain Manager at Fibia Michael Bauer tells about Fibia’s role in the green transition: ”Fibia’s ambitions are to play a significant role in the green transition, as well as to operate the most efficient fiber network ready for the future. This entails, among other things, a great need for a cover plate to protect the infrastructure in the ground. We are very satisfied to find a solution that fulfills the desire for optimal protection while reducing CO2 emissions!
The above is only part of the larger measures to ensure that we emit as little CO2 as possible. We have ensured national production of our plastic pipes reducing transport, which has also led to a greater reduction in CO2. We will continue to introduce initiatives going forward, while still maintaining the best possible quality in our fiber solutions”, Michael Bauer concludes.

Rational processes

Følsgaard’s Cable cover plate consists of 100% Danish recycled plastic. It is plastic consumed, collected, transformed and reintroduced in Denmark. It is therefore not a question of irrational recycling projects with imported plastic, where freight entails an environmental downside. This is a mix of disposable plastic from yours and my trash and plastic from local companies.

Inferior plastic is one of the keys

Some types of plastic are not suitable for recycling, and are therefore often burned, despite their low heating value. So CO2 is released both during production and burning. It would be optimal to succeed in incorporating the hard-to-use plastic into the recycling process. And that is precisely what happens in the production of Følsgaard’s. Approx. 20% of the plastic in the cover plates is difficult to recycle, and is therefore the biggest benefit of the product. The dosage of the different types of plastic means that the product meets the standard required by the industry, but at the same time utilizes plastic that is otherwise difficult to find a use for.

You just don’t bury “virgin plastic”

With cover plate, the plastic is buried in the ground. It is not a product that needs to appear with a special gloss or a specific texture. It is about producing a good and approved product for the application, and not emitting unnecessary CO2.
Virginplast, which is newly produced plastic, is still used for cable cover plates in the industry. But the market is maturing to accept small color and texture differences, in order to strengthen the environmental profile of the individual company and reduce negative impacts on the environment.

Today’s shade

The industry standard for fiber cable cover plates requires the orange color. But shades of orange are allowed, and this allows for the use of recycled plastic, as the orange color is produced by mixing red plastic. And we can proudly say that our cover plates come in today’s shade of orange. We are happy to compromise on uniformity in color as long as the quality is good. And it is.

Increasing demand and specific requirements

As a supplier to some of the country’s largest providers of fibre, Følsgaard is experiencing increasing interest in products with a reduced footprint.
“We feel an increasing interest and even requirements from customers regarding sustainability in our products. In some cases, it is part of the negotiation of a contract that we can provide documented, sustainable products. It makes sense for us to offer this type of solution, as we already work purposefully with sustainability,” says Key Account Manager Teddy Tofte Hansen.

It really makes sense to recycle plastic

New production of LDPE (Low-density polyethylene) emits 2.36 kg. CO2/kg. Production of Følsgaard’s cover plate from recycled plastic emits just 0.35 kg. CO2/kg. That is a saving of 2.01 kg CO2/kg. , corresponding to 85%.
On top of the considerable CO2 savings from recycling comes the fact that the plastic used is often burned, further damaging the environment. For example, if LDPE is incinerated, it will emit a total of 5.39 kg CO2/ kg, i.e. 15 times more CO2 than when recycled. And with a relatively low calorific value, the arguments for recycling are even stronger.
With a wide product portfolio, Følsgaard works with sustainability in several areas. The industry’s demand and our own strategy is helping to push the continued, necessary development.
*Source: Danish households have the EU’s fifth largest CO2 footprint
**Source: Do electric cars emit less CO2 than other cars? Check the answer now
[Include file 'Blocks/Overlay/Custom__Blocks.cshtml' not found in 'Templates/Designs/Rapido/Paragraph/Overlay.cshtml']