18.11.2022

Circular economy

To succeed with the Elkem climate roadmap, the company needs to enable and create circular economies. To Elkem, circular economy "consists in producing goods and services in a sustainable way by limiting the excessive consumption of resources and the production of waste. It is about moving from a throwaway society to a more circular economic model”.

The circular economy is an economic model that aims at generating sustainable and local activities and employment. While in nature, everything works in a more circular way (food chain, the waste of some is the resources of others), we have dissociated ourselves from this model with the rise of a “consumer society” in the early 20th century. Thus, leading to a linear model: extract, manufacture, consume, dispose. The circular economy is built in opposition to this model. Its fundamental principles are preserving resources, environment, and health, allowing the economic and industrial development of territories, and reducing waste. At Elkem, the objective is to increase circularity. Through close partnerships with customers and research Elkem’s goal is to standardise a 3R approach, based on reuse, reduce, and recycle.

→ Reduce: We reduce our environmental impact by designing products that use fewer fossil resources, are manufactured with less energy-intensive processes or through longer life to reduce the need to replace.

→ Reuse: We reuse or repurpose substances, materials, or products in and from our production or commercial cycles that are still functional.

→ Recycle: We manage our waste and the end-oflife of our products to transform them into raw materials for new products.

Some examples that illustrate Elkem's commitment

REDUCE – ELSEAL® Type G:

New product makes aluminium production greener and safer by removing harmful exposure to carcinogenic PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) compounds (classified as a health hazard and comply with the handling of waste material).

→ No PAH nor other hazardous substances.

→ No emissions of PAH during use and workers will not be exposed to these potentially harmful compounds.

→ Proven performance under challenging electrolysis conditions where the combination of high temperature and corrosive bath is a tough environment.

→ Odourless, easy to handle, improved storage stability and does not form any harmful waste.

REUSE – Microsilica®:

From discarded by-products to high-performance material.

→ Silica fume is a discarded by-product of the production of silicon or ferro-silicon.

→ Considered as a key ingredient in many construction materials to achieve high-performance rheology, strength and durability.

→ Building companies are saving on cement and water.

RECYCLE – REPOS (REssourcement POlymères Silicones):

A collaborative project with an objective to reduce waste and develop a circular economy approach of silicones.

→ Setting up a value chain around the recycling of silicone products, revolving around the treatment of waste and internal downgraded products.

→ A 3-year-long local collaborative project reuniting members of the LPSE (Lyon Polymer Science and Engineering) setting up a flexible, selective, and productive unit at low temperature for depolymerisation of silicone materials.

→ A reduction of more than 65% of waste and carbon footprint is estimated on preliminary studied perimeter.

Four examples of our work

Eco-design

80% of a product´s environmental impact is determined at the design stage. Eco-design reduces the amount of material and energy used.

Reprocessing

Mix & Fix™ Center centres are set up to analyse customer samples to see if they are reusable or can be reprocessed.

Chemical recycling

a project focused on recovering and recycling sillicones in all physical forms, reducing the carbon footprint up to 65%.

Eco-forward silicones

We develop personal care products with sustainable and eco-friendly raw materials – like PURESIL™ ORG 01.