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Circular practices, waste reduction, and achieving carbon neutrality

Australia, Frontier, Lanes

Dec 07, 2023

Acoustic solutions, News Article, Sustainability

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Pioneering carbon neutrality and circularity in the acoustic industry

The architecture and design industry is in a state of constant evolution, and sustainability has undergone a significant transformation within this landscape. Once regarded as a mere technical requirement, a checkbox to mark, or an optional addition, sustainability has now evolved into an essential, value-driven, and intrinsic component of every thoughtful design process. The emergence of the Australian Architects Declare Climate & Biodiversity Emergency has notably influenced this global shift, and today, industry professionals place a heightened emphasis on sustainable design principles, recognising the benefits they bring in terms of environmental, social, and economic aspects.

 

Aidan Hill, Autex Acoustics group technical and sustainability manager, notes, “Architects and designers have deepened their understanding of sustainability as it pertains to their roles and its impact on individual projects. The focus has shifted from general sustainability considerations to more specific and nuanced inquiries about product specifications and sustainability processes. Similarly, questions about our sustainability practices have evolved from ‘do we recycle’ to ‘how do we recycle.'”

 

It is reasonable for architects, designers, and specifiers to assume Autex’s strong sustainability credentials, given that sustainability has been a fundamental value since the company’s inception in 1976. In fact, Autex Acoustics’ very first product, insulation, was manufactured for decades with zero waste, setting a steadfast precedent for our commitment to environmental practices. Today, sustainability is woven into every facet of our business, from sourcing and product design to manufacturing processes.

 

Hill elaborates, saying, “Sustainability is inherent in our business operations. It plays a pivotal role in our procurement team’s assessment of potential raw materials and suppliers, considering their environmental and social impacts. Our research and development team also prioritizes sustainability, focusing on minimizing material usage and designing products for disassembly and recyclability at the end of life. Our production teams are equally dedicated to minimizing waste during production and redirecting product trimmings away from landfills.”

 

This comprehensive integration of sustainability into our business gives rise to a diverse range of initiatives aimed at constantly improving our environmental footprint and pushing the boundaries of industry-leading sustainable technology.

In 2021, Autex Acoustics achieved carbon neutrality across all global operations, including our entire range of acoustic products. Additionally, Autex Acoustics has implemented a circular economy strategy that guides all our products and operations toward a clear goal, which is regularly reviewed and enhanced. This commitment to achieving circularity is also reflected in our ongoing efforts to refine and optimise our processes.

 

Hill highlights an innovative recycling method for panel offcuts, stating, “In the past, we’ve used recycled manufacturing waste as insulation infill, which is commendable, but now we’ve introduced an industry-first process for recycling panel offcuts made from recycled PET. Traditionally, recycled PET was destined for landfills, but our pioneering machine can convert recycled PET fiber into solid pellets usable by various manufacturers for a range of applications.”

 

This groundbreaking recycling technique for panel offcuts promotes resource efficiency and waste reduction, aligning with Autex’s objective of repurposing 100% of post-industrial waste into new products and advancing toward zero-waste manufacturing lines. Furthermore, we continually increase the proportion of recycled content in our products, striving for closed-loop production.

 

These initiatives hold immense significance in the context of a recent study revealing that Australia generates 74 million tonnes of waste annually, with 90.9% of raw materials failing to re-enter the economy. The report also indicates that a circular built environment could save 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year in Australia by 2040—a goal that Autex Acoustics is fervently pursuing through its design for circularity.

 

Hill affirms, “As product designers, we prioritise designing for circularity to ensure our products are as sustainable as possible. While products like Frontier™ and our new adhesive-free air-gap system, Lanes™, can be disassembled at the end of their life, our ultimate aim is to have 100% of our product portfolio designed for disassembly. Moreover, we aspire to repurpose all post-industrial waste generated during the manufacturing process into new products, paving the way for zero-waste manufacturing lines. Our commitment to sustainability extends to collaborating with the broader industry to advocate for improved product stewardship, recognizing the importance of collective action in achieving a greener future.”

 

In a landscape where the perception of sustainability is continually evolving, companies like Autex Acoustics play a pivotal role in shaping the future of sustainable design practices. By ingraining sustainability into our core values, operations, and product development, we exemplify our dedication to environmental responsibility with the hope of inspiring others in the industry to do the same.


Australia, Frontier, Lanes

Dec 07, 2023

Acoustic solutions, News Article, Sustainability

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