TENSAI INTERVIEW FOR VOZ DO CAMPO MAGAZINE – sustainable plastics TENSAI was the subject of a report by REVISTA VOZ DO CAMPO.
In this kick-off edition in 2023, the theme highlighted the increasingly pressing issue of plastics and the growing concern for the sustainability of current and future solutions.
In an interview with VOZ DO CAMPO magazine, Hugo Patrício, Marketing and Communication Director at TENSAI and Head of the Plastics Unit - TENSAI FURNITURE, explains some of the points that place TENSAI as a driver of more sustainable solutions, combining synergies between its two industrial units located in Estarreja (TENSAI INDÚSTRIA - manufacturer of refrigeration equipment for domestic & professional use and TENSAI FURNITURE - polymer unit and manufacturer of plastic furniture).
What plastics or derived products does Tensai Indústria S.A. have for direct or indirect use in agriculture?
TENSAI is currently Business Leader in the Sustainable Plastics Consortium - circularity for alternative raw materials - and, together with other entities, this project is the kick-off for the development of biodegradable parts to be incorporated into our products. Thus, the use of poly (lactic acid) PLA is being studied as one of the most reliable substitutes for common petroleum-based polymers (PE, PP and PS) due to its mechanical properties and biological origin.
The aim of this action is to develop biodegradable composites of PLA and corn fiber waste/residues to enable industrial injection molding or 3D additive manufacturing of rigid parts that can be used as components of household appliances. The proof of concept will be the injection molding of a refrigerator part corresponding to an egg holder! The same principle will be applied to the production of disposable cutlery as an example of biodegradable items.
What innovations have been seen in these products?
As an introduction, TENSAI has two industrial units, one directed to the manufacture of cold equipment (TENSAI INDUSTRY) and the other directed to the production of plastic. The latter supplies the first unit internally and has created its own line of plastic furniture (TENSAI FURNITURE). Together they act as an Ecosystem, with the intention of reinforcing the commitment to a 0 waste policy. In this sense, we internally recycle industrial waste and promote subsequent integration of recycled into our manufacturing process.
In parallel, the two TENSAI units are studying the implementation of recycled fiber as an alternative for customers who wish to have products aligned with this sustainable practice. The objective is to encourage the use of recycled raw materials and to gradually increase the percentage value of recycled per equipment. Currently, TENSAI FURNITURE already has a BioProduct, with the development of a chair - KRAFT - that combines eco-design with the injection of wood and plastic. In a more observable way, we have also reduced the weight of plastic use in our products, using product reengineering processes, eco-design and more optimized manufacturing processes.
Is the "Biodegradable" feature already present in these products?
The "Biodegradable" feature is an increasingly present reality in the development of our products and aligned with the concept of circularity by alternative raw material. Using 3D additive manufacturing, TENSAI is currently developing parts for prototyping and small series in order to incorporate them into the equipment it produces. However, there is a challenge in converting to use PLA from poly(lactic acid) because PLA is biodegradable only under certain conditions, as it is strictly a compostable polymer.
Thus, from a scientific, industrial and commercial point of view, it is highly desirable to improve the degradability of PLA by incorporating other more biodegradable biomaterials.
To what extent can we "accuse" plastics of contaminating soils and threatening food security?
Reflection on the impact of plastic use should not be based on a reductionist view of how the problem is addressed. In the first analysis, the problem is not plastic, but recurrent and irresponsible individual behaviors as well as inefficient waste collection systems (global scale). In this light, it is fair to say that those who do not recycle plastic certainly do not recycle other waste.
On the other hand, a blanket approach to plastics, which is made up of sectors with such different end-uses (e.g. single-use or long-life plastics), is unfortunately in line with the current practice of using the same "bag" to discuss indiscriminately the impact of the plastics industry as a whole.
However, it seems assertive to note that demonizing plastics in Europe will not solve the problem of the oceans, nor will it help solve the critical problem, which is difficult to solve, of land degradation and the squandering of natural resources.
We can and must have a reduction in per capita consumption, but we must consider plastic as a solution to the numerous environmental problems of today, in particular TENSAI is focused on the production of equipment that allows a long period of useful life.
Further information towards an increasingly sustainable company:
As an integrated ECOSYSTEM, TENSAI INDUSTRY acts upstream and downstream with daily commitment to become greener and more sustainable with cross-cutting policies on SUSTAINABILITY and an ECO-FRIENDLY behavior! From our industrial complex to the delivery of the final product, there is a total commitment to the environment and the world we live in.
Equipped with 3800 photovoltaic panels, 1 MegaWatt installed, make this investment in renewable energy one of the largest national references. It therefore results in a reduction of the ecological footprint, a reduction of 45% of energy consumption, thus avoiding that close to 600 TON of CO2 are released annually into the atmosphere.
At TENSAI, we adopt and encourage the responsible use of natural resources as well as the preservation of the environment, promoting an eco-efficient management that minimizes the environmental impacts arising from our company's activity.
Promoting the improvement of society's quality of life is a daily mission intrinsically mirrored in TENSAI's organizational culture.
We want and will go further, continuing our commitment to delivering products that are undoubtedly more durable and sustainable. Actions such as Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are rooted in our organization embodied by the constant search for reinvention and search for new solutions that allow us to reduce our carbon footprint.
Incorporating recycled material into our production, reducing excess material by re-engineering our products (...) additive manufacturing, are just a few examples of TENSAI's ongoing commitment to the future and the circular economy. This results in an increasing investment in the eco-design of our products to ensure that they can be recycled, in reducing the amount of resources needed for their production and in increasing their useful life.
- DIGITAL VERSION OF VOZ DO CAMPO MAGAZINE HERE
- TENSAI INTERVIEW Page 54
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