Sapa establishes metal return program that supports their respective sustainability goals while turning old aluminium poles into new ones

Six Dutch cities are taking advantage of a metal return program that supports their respective sustainability goals while turning old aluminium poles into new ones.

Katwijk, Netherlands, 3-12-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Sapa established the program to close the loop with regard to past-their-prime aluminium light poles and their subsequent replacement. In theory, the concept is simple. Old light poles are collected and stripped, then all parts are returned and brought back into the technical cycle.

The idea was hatched with the Dutch municipality of Katwijk, a seaside town bordering the North Sea and located just north of The Hague. The town had a concern, and after learning of Sapa’s Cradle to Cradle® aluminium light pole, it contacted the company to discuss how to create a return system.

“In the past, when we disposed old light poles, the old materials were left to the contractor and there was no view on where the materials ended up,” says Simon Bachofner, who works for the municipality.

With partners
Now, when light poles are being replaced, a municipality may choose Sapa’s Take Back program. Six cities – Bussum, Heusden, Katwijk, Noordwijk, Noord Oost Polder, Tilburg – signed on in 2014.

Sapa takes back the town’s old aluminium light poles, including fittings and cabling, before delivering new poles. Dismantling is done with Baanbrekers, a publicly owned company for social employment.

Sapa remelts the aluminum light poles, extrudes the billets into tubes, then produces new light poles. Each step takes place at its pole products plant in Drunen. The residues that Sapa cannot process are brought back into the chain by a waste specialist.

By coordinating the entire logistical process, Sapa releases the burden from municipalities.

Sustainable design
Sapa Pole Products offers over 3,000 aluminium solutions, from functional light poles to custom-made ​​designs. “The company has long designed its products such that they can be reused entirely at the end of their lifespan,” says Leopold Moormann, who leads Sapa Pole Products.

“Developing solutions according to the Cradle to Cradle® design facilitates the disassembly of our light poles and also helps our customers adjust to a circular economy,” says Moormann.

The Cradle to Cradle Certified™ program requires a company to use environmentally safe and healthy materials, to design products for material reutilization at end of life, to comply with guidelines regarding the use of water and renewable energy, and to implement strategies for social responsibility.

The certificate is valid for two years and renewed biennially. Sapa Pole Products was first certified in 2011.

Learn more about Sapa Pole Products and the Take Back program

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The Take Back program suits societal developments and supports municipal sustainability goals. Here, old aluminum light poles are being dismantled.

The Take Back program suits societal developments and supports municipal sustainability goals. Here, old aluminum light poles are being dismantled.

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