What does the LIFECycle Framework mean in Practice?
If we break each of the five steps down, you can see how they will positively impact our future operations.
Lean & Circular Design
Circularity must start with design, both at a product and a building level. This means thinking about product characteristics and industry need in the long term to provide bespoke solutions. To do this we are aligning ourselves with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Circular Design Guide to embed lifecycle thinking and circular principles into our product design for both new and existing products. We will use the framework to baseline performance and identify opportunities for improvement. It also applies when we provide design advice for the use of our products in application.
We define circular materials as being either from renewable or recycled sources. A core aspect of sourcing materials under both of these categories is sustainable procurement. Linking with our supply chain sustainability programme, we are actively engaging with our main raw material suppliers to determine how to significantly increase the volume of recycled and/or renewable materials we can procure to produce our products.
One area we have already made significant progress with is ensuring that our products are responsibly sourced along ethical, social and environmental guidelines, and many of our UK insulation and insulated panel manufacturing sites have achieved BES 6001 certification for responsible sourcing.
In line with our Planet Passionate target to eliminate waste to landfill throughout our business, we are developing and implementing multiple initiatives to reduce, or where possible prevent, waste generation. One such initiative was the investment in a mechanical recycling solution for our Insulated Panels facility at Kingscourt, Ireland. This mechanical solution will pelletise insulation production waste and enable it to be re-introduced into the production of new products or as a feedstock for other industries and applications.
Extended Life Models
Here we are looking to maximise the in-use potential of products by extending their serviceable life for as long as possible and enabling onward reuse of products if they can still provide value to another application or building. The product level attributes that will help us to achieve this are durability, modularity and design for disassembly. At a business model level, it requires us to facilitate extended service life and support reuse.
The final stage, after all reuse and extended life options have been explored, is cycling. Our challenge here is to help keep these materials within the economy once the product has come to the end of its service life, by allowing products to be broken down all the way back to their base material level so that they can be remade into new products.