Lifecycle perspective at Resinit

Over the course of a couple of years, Resinit has focused on introducing a lifecycle approach into its environmental work. In spring 2018, partially thanks to its work on the lifecycle perspective, the company was awarded its updated certificate according to ISO 14001.
     Resinit is part of XANO’s Precision Technology business unit. The company’s plant in Västervik manufactures machined components made of plastic and laminate. 450–500 different items are delivered each month to customers in fields such as medical technology. Resinit has long worked with environmental management systems, but in 2015, when the updated ISO 14001 environmental management system standard was released, they had a bit of a headache regarding the standard’s new demands for a lifecycle perspective.
     “The first question we had to ask ourselves was: What does the lifecycle perspective mean for Resinit?” says Kurt Johansson, quality and environmental coordinator at the company.
 

Both through its own research and with the aid of an environmental consultant, ​Resinit was able to ascertain the meaning of the term. Working on the basis of a lifecycle perspective entails a broader approach in respect of products’ environmental impact, and covers the entire process from procurement of raw materials to final waste management. The aim is to give consideration to and minimise the environmental impact throughout the product’s lifecycle.
     In order to identify the company’s environmental impact from a lifecycle perspective, Resinit began to subdivide its operations into various lifecycle stages. After that, the environmental aspects present in each life-cycle stage were identified. 
     “We now have a clear model where we can assess the environmental impact, risks, stakeholder requirements, legal requirements, etc., based on a lifecycle perspective. This creates clarity in our environmental work and is also easy to communicate within the organisation,” considers Kurt.

The work has resulted in more effective environmental efforts, as the lifecycle perspective makes it easy for the company to identify which environmental aspects it can influence. It has also led to more dialogues with customers in respect of material and chemical choices. 
     “Our production is controlled to a great extent by demand from customers. Their wishes occasionally entail the use of e.g. chemicals that have a negative impact on health and the environment,” points out Kurt. “In that instance, we initiate a dialogue with the customer in order, where possible, to switch to more environmentally friendly and healthy alternatives.”
     The work in relation to choice of materials contributes to a reduced environmental impact during the product’s usage phase, but also when it becomes waste, which is fully in line with the requirements set out in ISO 14001 and the company’s ambition to work for sustainable development.
     “In the beginning it was difficult, but once we had figured out what the lifecycle perspective entails for us and had identified the right approach, it became easy and was absolutely worth all the work,” concludes Kurt.