As an environmental issue, recycling is not only a constraint but it should be considered as a strategic investment for tomorrow profits. In the near future, cablemakers will not only be responsible for their scraps production (named preconsumer waste) but also for their products at the end of their lifes. Cable scraps are not ultimate waste (i.e. waste that cannot be recovered at reasonable cost) so they must be recycled. The recycling market is born under the pressure of law and regulation but companies could find, there, an economic interest. Further to the technology-based efforts spent by Nexans on raw materials separation (plastics, copper…), progresses and innovations have also to be expected from the cable waste management.
RIPS (Recyclage Industriel de Produits Sidérurgiques) collects, sorts and separates cable scraps.
After the collection, the sorting operation is of primary importance. As a matter of fact, the better the sorting is, the better the end products are.
A scraping line consists of the main following steps:
The metal granulates are sent to foundries but plastics fractions, which are low-grade material, can be used only for a limited range of products (e.g. traffic cones, industrial floorings). In order to enhance the value of the plastic granulates, it is necessary to separate the various components of the mixed plastic waste.
Only few companies are able to recycle the mixed plastic granulates. Several processes are proposed:
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Generally speaking a cable is made of:
The goal of the recycling process is to separate the various elements leading to re-usable products.