From leftover plastic waste to securing the world's water resources
At BIBS we have the vision to become greener in everything we do. Our children will inherit the Earth and we want to actively secure it for generations to come.
Working sustainably and responsibly has always been essential to BIBS. We are on a journey to become an even more environmentally sustainable company. Our sustainability work focuses on our entire supply chain – all from using sustainable raw materials in our products, reducing the CO2 emission in our production to minimizing the use of packaging, and recycling materials.
Entering a circular cycle
Plastic has many benefits and properties. Plastic is an incredibly useful material in many contexts, and we are all in daily contact with plastic products. Our computers, tablets, and smartphones all have plastic components, the same goes for contact lenses, hearing aids, and polyester and nylon clothing. Plastic products make a difference in our lives and make many things easier - also when it comes to the environment and climate. Without plastic, we would not be able to produce wind turbines and solar cells, nor would we be able to produce plastic packaging for food that helps extend the shelf life and minimize food waste*. But plastic is of course a material that must be used with care and that should never end up in the world's oceans and it should be recycled the correct way.
In Denmark, where our main production is located, we have a long tradition of either burning our plastic waste or exporting it to low-wage countries for sorting and processing as well as incineration. This means that resources are wasted instead of entering a circular cycle.
As a company that uses plastic in our products and packaging, we are the first to recognize that there are still challenges with the handling of plastics. We have taken many steps to ensure that our product becomes increasingly sustainable, for example by increasing reuse and recycling. We are on a journey, and we hope to get better every day.
The raw materials of recycled plastic can be recycled again and again, and proper recycling of plastic can save the environment a significant amount of CO2. Unfortunately, we cannot avoid some plastic waste in our production. Though we can control what happens with our plastic waste. All the PP plastic waste from our production is sent to the danish company AVL, which is the largest company in recycling high-quality plastic in the North.
For every kilo of recycled plastic from AVL, the environment is saved 2.4 kg of CO2, calculated based on the consumption of water, electricity, etc.** Between January 2020 and March 2021, BIBS has sent over 28 tons of plastic waste to AVL for recycling.
Better water and more of it
After being shipped off to AVL our plastic waste is made into an exciting, innovative, and environmentally friendly product called Hexa-Cover® Floating Covers.
Hexa-Cover is a product that can be installed on liquid surfaces that effectively prevents evaporation and algae growth in the water.
Drinking water is a scarce resource in certain areas of the earth. In most places, drinking water is collected in large lakes during the rainy season or when the snow melts in the spring. But a large part of the collected water normally evaporates. Hexa-Cover not only reduces the evaporation by 65-85%***, but also prevents or minimizes algae growth in the water because the water is shielded from sunlight, so the algae cannot develop.
The floating covers are made up of hexagonal tiles that float freely on the water surface. Up to 99% coverage of the surface area can be achieved, resulting in reduced evaporation, reduced contamination, and improved water quality. Even in situations where there are exposed surface areas as the tiles blow in the wind, water quality improvements appear unaffected.
(Pictures of the Hexa-Cover Floating Covers in Omeo Water Treatment Plant, Australia)
The Hexa-Covers have been effectively used all over the world from North- and South America to Europe, Asia, and Africa. An example where the Hexa-Covers have been effectively used is in the Omeo Water Treatment Plant, Australia – a raw water storage reservoir that draws water from Butchers Creek. The reservoir has had issues with algae growth in the past. The algae make the water more difficult to treat to potable water standards. As a result, the reservoir required regular emptying and cleaning, to mitigate the effects of algae on water quality and treatment. After installing over 100,000 Hexa-Cover discs there has been a notable reduction in algae growth and E. coli in the raw water storage, which makes the water much easier to treat.
We at BIBS are both excited and delighted that our plastic waste is part of such an inspirational and innovative product that is both environmentally friendly and pioneering within the field of securing the world’s water resources.
Disclaimer: Even though our 28 tons of plastic waste sounds like quite a lot, it is not enough to meet the demand for Hexa-Covers. That is why other companies’ plastic waste is also used to produce Hexa-Covers.
* Info from plast.dk
**Data from avl.dk
*** Data from hexa-cover.dk