Schneider Electric Reveals First Home Energy Solutions Made from Recycled Ocean Plastics at CES 2022 to Make Homes More Sustainable

Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, and the world’s most sustainable corporation 2021 as ranked by Corporate Knights, today unveiled the first home energy solutions made from ocean plastics. The market-leading Merten range of sockets and switches made from recycled ocean material delivered in sustainable packaging, eliminating non-recyclable material, and empowering customers to take one step closer to achieving net-zero goals.

Award-winning Merten Ocean Plastics Switches made from upcycled fishing nets. Image Credit: Schneider Electric

Debuting at CES 2022, Schneider Electric is the first company in the industry to offer Home Energy solutions made from upcycled ocean plastic that creates a vision of a truly functioning circular economy.

Giving ocean nets new home for life

Schneider Electric’s Merten range, known for its timeless modern design, includes new models made from polyamide fishing nets collected from the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Customers in select markets are now able to contribute to the reduction of ocean pollution by choosing sustainable products – including switches, sockets and frames – without compromising on durability and style. 

The Merten Ocean Plastics offer has been recognized by CES as a 2022 Innovation Award honoree in the Sustainability Category. The product range is also the first in the industry to receive the international Cradle to Cradle Silver certification for responsible product design and steps taken towards a continuous circular economy.  

The abandoned or lost fishing equipment makes up around 10% of the plastic waste in our oceans. The new Merten ocean plastic models contribute to reducing the 640,000 tons of fishing nets left in the ocean each year and are the first step in making this range of products more sustainable. 

Sustainable Partnership 

Schneider Electric partnered with DSM, a global leader in Health, Nutrition and Bioscience to transform fishing net waste into high-grade technical plastic that can be used in electrical devices. 

DSM collaborates with several local communities in India to recover and collect discarded fishing nets, providing a significant benefit to the local economy and environment. 

The abandoned fishing nets are then cut up, cleaned, extruded, and inspected for quality before being sent to DSM for processing into Akulon Repurposed compound. The carbon footprint of this new compound is 82% lower than the traditional Nylon 6 used in similar products, reducing the potential impact on global warming, air acidification, and photochemical Ozone formation in its manufacturing process.

The final material also contains 15% glass fiber to make products more durable, resilient, and long-lasting to meet all necessary electrical safety requirements and standards.

100% recyclable packaging

Further enhancing its sustainability commitments, Schneider Electric has also revamped its product packaging, eliminating all single-use plastic and non-recyclable materials from the packaging process. 

Technology can help us make more intelligent energy solutions to reduce carbon footprints. Still, we fall at the first hurdle if it’s a single-use plastic device wrapped in non-degradable packaging. By addressing this at the start, the Merten System M range takes a great step toward future 100% recyclable packaging by Schneider Electric. The design of the boxes also includes the recognizable Schneider Electric and Merten brand logos together with the ocean plastic symbol. 

YiFu Qi, Executive Vice-President of Global Home and Distribution at Schneider Electric, says: “The challenge of weaning the world from our addiction to plastic waste might seem impossible. But change is possible - and it begins at home. The collaboration between DSM and Schneider Electric is a world first and a game-changer for the market. We hope to pave the way for even more sustainable innovations in the electrical solutions industry and spark inspiration and innovation for years to come. The Merten recycled ocean material range is just the first of many sustainable solutions from Schneider Electric as we take strides towards helping our customers achieve global net zero goals.

The future of production in the electrical solutions sector has to be green. Using the right materials for the job from the outset is central to creating a circular economy in this industry.” 

Helen Mets, Executive Vice-President Materials at DSM, added: “Tackling the global challenge of ocean plastics will require our entire industry to step up and find innovative solutions to drive a circular transformation. Through our collaboration with Schneider Electric, we aspire to  take a small step towards maintaining healthier marine life, litter-free beaches, and cleaner oceans and the initiative also supporting local livelihoods and create jobs – all while giving the eco-conscious homeowners and residents access to safe and stylish electrical outlets. Together, we can create demand for re-used plastics and help find a second home for discarded recyclable materials.”

Visit Schneider Electric’s Home of the Future exhibition, featuring the new Ocean Plastic range, at CES in Hall C, Booth 53214. 

See a full smart home installation with Schneider’s Wiser Energy Center at the core, connecting smart plugs, window sensors, heating, temperature and motion sensors EV charging and more in every room to bring efficiency, resiliency and sustainability to every home.   

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