SUEZ – specialist in waste and resource management – invests in Sustonable, a start-up that specialises in the production of composite stone material, with the fully recyclable binding agent of PET. This material can be used to manufacture, among others, fully recyclable, high quality, and extremely strong countertops with the appearance of natural stone. This can reduce the use of natural stone by as much as 80%, while also transforming plastic waste into a high-quality new product. Both parties see the joining forces as a new step in their aim to stimulate the Circular Economy, and combat resource scarcity. Development takes place in cooperation with the partners Dekker Zevenhuizen, the largest manufacturer of countertops in the Netherlands and the regional investment company Brabantse OntwikkelingsMaatschappij (BOM).
As a start-up, Sustonable supplies high-quality technology and in-depth chemical knowledge of PET and composite stone. SUEZ, as an international business, has access to the resources, has world-wide knowledge of the circular economy, and supports the project financially. Both parties will, in close cooperation, further develop and test the durable countertops. Dekker Zevenhuizen contributes its knowledge of the countertop market, as well as expertise in manufacturing, because it has one of the most modern and advanced production systems in the world for the processing of composite sheets. The BOM contributes through professional financing knowledge.
Sustonable’s innovative sheet material is initially used for countertops and wall panels for bathrooms. The material has the appearance of stone but more economic. Furthermore, it uses up to half as much natural resources and it is much lighter, more flexible, and stronger than existing materials. The material is 100% recyclable, which contributes to the circular economy. Recycled PET is used as a binding agent, consisting of plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate, a synthetic fibre that is very suitable for recycling. The technology and product composition are unique and patented.
Sustonable’s Laurens van Graafeiland says: “there is an enormous demand, among consumers, for high quality, durable, and affordable sheet-material for kitchens and bathrooms. That is why we, together with partners, including SUEZ, want to develop the high-quality sheet material further, and test it extensively. To us, it was immediately clear that we needed a strategic party, with access to secondary resources. We found that party in SUEZ.”
Closing the loop
With its participation, SUEZ effectively implements its mission of closing the waste-management loop. As director of the synthetics chain, SUEZ has access to recycled resources. “We are very happy with our participation in Sustonable. This is our next step in making used synthetics a suitable high-quality resource for new products”, says Vincent Mooij, Business Innovator at SUEZ. “A substantial part of the synthetics being processed into the countertops is derived from SUEZ’s sorting installation for synthetic packaging waste in Rotterdam. By returning high-quality resources to our industrial clients, we close the loop.”
Building a new factory
It is Sustonable’s ambition to start building a new factory in Turkey in 2019; a production site where, based on recycled synthetics, new products are created by innovative means, that can replace the natural stone. For that matter, a new funding round will take place.
In March Sustonable had already signed an agreement with the Brabant-based Development Agency as lead investor. Sustonable is also working together with Dekker Zevenhuizen, market leader in the manufacturing of countertops. The investment has been used for product and process development.
Sustonable is a new manufacturer of composite sheet-material, with a unique product made of quartz, bound by recycled PET. The founders started out through a close cooperation on the water, in a rowing boat, and a cooperation at Shell. The product is made using a unique and efficient process. Both have been patented. This way, Sustonable tries to contribute to the prevention of waste of exhaustible natural resources, while contributing to the circular economy. At the same time, Sustonable strives to keep its products attractive and affordable.
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We are on the eve of a resource-revolution. In a world facing high population increase, increasing urbanisation, and scarcity of natural resources, the safeguarding, optimising, and renewing of resources is essential to our future. SUEZ (Paris: SEV, Brussels: SEVB) offers its waste-water treatment services to 58 million people, and annually recycles 882 million m³ of waste-water. In addition, SUEZ recycles 16.9 million tons of waste each year, and produces 3.9 tons of secondary raw materials as well as 7 TWh in locally renewable energy. Furthermore, SUEZ prevents 9.5 MtCO2e GHG-emissions for its customers. With 83,921 employees, SUEZ has a presence on all five continents, making it a key player in the circular economy for the sustainable management of resources. In 2016, SUEZ generated a global revenue of 15.3 billion euros.
In the Netherlands, SUEZ Recycling & Recovery is active in the field of collecting, processing, recycling, and re-using waste, and in those fields, offers various general and specific services.
In doing so, SUEZ services around 530,000 Dutch households and around 80,000 businesses and other organisations. For more information: www.suez.nl
Telephone: +31 (0)88 – 102 36 00