Turning Trash Into Gold
The thousands of volunteers who recycle waste materials like to say that they are turning garbage into gold. Now this 'gold' has been certified as 'green' by one of the world's most qualified judges.
Founded in 1872 and based in Cologne, Germany, TÜV Rheinland is a global provider of technical, safety and certification services. It employs more than 12,000 people in over 60 countries, with revenue exceeding one billion euros a year. Da Ai Technology asked it to certify the Da Ai (Great Love) Eco-Green blanket it makes from recycled PET bottles, collected by 67,000 volunteers in recycling centers across Taiwan. The foundation turns the bottles into synthetic fiber used to make blankets and clothing which it distributes in relief operations around the world. It uses no dye during the manufacturing process, which lowers energy consumption and carbon emissions and the use of water during the process. In addition, the green color of the blankets comes from the true color of the recycled bottles. The blankets and clothes are stain-resistant and have excellent insulation: they are easy to dry and not easily dirtied, making them especially suitable for use by people in emergency situations.
After examining the Eco-Green blanket, TÜV Rheinland granted it certifications as 100% recycled materials and carbon footprint. This shows that the blankets are fully in compliance with international environmental requirements and that the foundation's efforts in using recycled materials meet the international demand to reduce carbon emissions. It also shows that the product is non-toxic to humans and safe to use.
Jason Wu, general manager for TÜV Rheinland Systems of Greater China Sales and New Business Development, said: "normally, the recycled PET impurity rate at recycling plants reaches 15%-20%, while Tzu Chi's volunteers help to reduce this to less than 10% by using good PET-bottle separation and classification processing. Such superior processing not only facilitates better quality but also leads to consumption of less energy." Together with the technical capacity of the supply-chain vendors, the end result is green blankets of much greater added-value.
Da Ai advises that, when the blankets are cleaned, it is best to hand-wash instead of using washing machines; this saves consumption of energy and water. If dryers are not used, carbon emissions can be reduced by up to 90%.
The use of carbon-footprint tools brings better understanding of greenhouse-gas emissions produced by different activities and measurement of the impact of these activities on climate change. Oil, water and electricity are all sources of greenhouse gases. The more energy and other resources we use, the greater impact they will have on climate warming. TÜV Rheinland has verified that Da Ai's green blankets have fully implemented carbon-footprint reduction technology, from the recovery phase of PET particles to the processing of the yarn into the finished blankets; they have verified the emissions over the product's entire life cycle.
"Companies can use recycled materials to meet the requirements set down in international environmental standards," said Wu. "They can also take advantage of carbon-footprint tools to measure carbon emissions for green products at different stages of its life cycle -- from raw materials and manufacturing to consumer end-products. Compared to the use of new raw materials, using recycled materials can reduce carbon emissions dramatically and decrease consumption of the earth's resources. This product is perfectly placed for the market's eco-friendly, very low–carbon niche."
TÜV Rheinland has long professional experience in recycling and carbon management. It has been in the field for over 20 years and assisted manufacturers to verify a wide range of different recycled materials such as waste coffee powder and PP/PE. It has provided carbon-footprint verifications for textiles and electronic and food products and helped manufacturers improve the 'green-efficiency' of their products.
Da Ai Technology selected TÜV Rheinland to serve as its partner to verify its recycled materials and carbon footprints and to implement a strict international third-party audit. Its aim was not only been to meet international environmental requirements for its products but also to incorporate international-standard documentation and procedures in order to promote its recycled-product concepts on the international market and play its part in bringing forward the era of recycling.
This certification is a further encouragement to the foundation's 67,000 recycling volunteers in Taiwan in their efforts to keep the planet clean and conserve resources. They donate to charity the proceeds from selling the green products they make, to continue the cycle of love.
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