June 8, 2022 is the 14th "World Ocean Day", and this year's theme is "revitalizing the oceans and taking collective action". Lenovo Group, as the first Chinese enterprise to apply Ocean bound plastics to consumer electronic products and packaging, promises to promote the recycling of Ocean bound plastics, and will use more Ocean bound plastics in notebook computers, desktops, peripheral keyboards, mice and packaging, so as to help promote the prevention and treatment of marine plastic waste pollution and seek green, innovative and sustainable development.
As a component of marine plastic waste, marine plastic usually refers to plastic waste located within 50 kilometers from the coastline. These waste plastics are often in a "out of control" state, which is very likely to be brought into the sea by natural forces such as rain and wind, resulting in more serious plastic pollution. The social and environmental benefits will be immeasurable if the efficient recycling and reuse of sea going plastics can be realized.
As early as 2019, Lenovo Group started the research on the recycling of sea going plastics, and launched the first batch of notebook computers and packaging containing sea going plastics in November 2021. Next, Lenovo will study the feasibility of introducing the whole line of products into the sea trend materials, drive the development and improvement of China's relevant industrial chain supply chain, and contribute more enterprise strength to the protection of the marine ecosystem.
Five types of computers have been launched one after another
Lenovo actively explores the recycling of sea going plastics
Marine ecosystem is the most important ecosystem in the world, which affects the stability and security of the global ecosystem. The United Nations report has pointed out that the ocean plays an important role in carbon sequestration. However, in recent years, marine garbage pollution has become increasingly serious, and about 8million tons of plastic garbage enter the sea every year. By 2050, the world's oceans will contain more plastic than fish. At present, marine plastic waste and micro plastic pollution have become one of the top ten environmental problems that need to be solved urgently in the world, and the prevention and control of marine pollution is urgent.
In order to take the lead in preventing plastics from entering the sea and causing serious marine pollution, Lenovo Group began to carry out early market research and project demonstration on sea trend plastics as early as 2019, and actively seek upstream and downstream partners to jointly study the possibility of the application of this material in the product manufacturing process. After repeated verification, Lenovo launched five computer products containing sea going plastics in November 2021, including ThinkPad L13 Gen 3, ThinkPad L13 Yoga Gen 3, ThinkPad L14 Gen 3, ThinkPad L15 Gen 3 and C14 Gen 1 chromebook.
Sea going plastic is mainly used in the three plastic parts of the product, namely, the horn, the dummy smart card and the dummy SIM cover. The content of sea going plastic in the used plastic is up to 5%. In addition, through multiple tests, Lenovo launched packages containing sea going plastics on ThinkPad L14 gen2/3 and L15 gen3 in fiscal year 2021/22. The content of sea going plastics in each package reached 30%. It is estimated that 70-80 tons of sea going plastics can be recycled every year.
On the road of "deformation" of sea going plastics
Constant challenges at the double chain level and technical level
During the research, demonstration, testing and application in the past two years, the recycling of sea going plastic materials is not as simple as expected. At the early stage of the project, Lenovo found that there were few domestic application scenarios at that time, the relevant industries were not mature, and there were few stable upstream suppliers that could recycle and modify sea going plastics and could pass the certification. With the "double carbon" target put forward by the state in 2020, and enterprises gradually take environmental factors into account in their decision-making, more market demand is released. Nowadays, there are more and more suppliers in China who can recycle and modify sea going plastics. The sea trend plastics provided by them can not only meet the performance requirements of consumer electronics materials, but also obtain certification from relevant institutions.
In addition, the application of sea going plastics in consumer electronic products also faces many challenges at the technical level. The sources of sea going plastics are mainly fishing nets, plastic bags, foam, etc., of which pet plastic accounts for the largest proportion, and is widely used in the fields of textile, packaging and beverage bottles, but it is rare in consumer electronic products. On the one hand, PET material will adhere to many impurities after floating in the sea, and long-term seawater immersion will also degrade the plastic and destroy the stability of mechanical properties. On the other hand, in addition to the limitations of the material itself, consumer electronic products have strict requirements for materials. For example, the materials used in notebook computers must pass the test requirements of drop, vibration, impact, aging, appearance, etc.
In order to overcome the difficulty of applying sea trend plastics to consumer electronic products, Lenovo's technical team chose to break through many links one by one, including continuously verifying and improving the formula of materials with suppliers; Repeatedly carry out product verification from the product design end and make up for material defects, such as simulating and optimizing the strength of target components and increasing reinforcement; Reduce the complex structure in the appearance area, and reserve some mold exhaust schemes; And reserve more gaps to facilitate the later adjustment of the mold, so as to ensure the mechanical and dimensional stability.
For example, when verifying the horn, which is a component of sea trend plastic, Lenovo technicians will conduct a gravity impact test, which is equivalent to a 2.5 kg iron ball hitting it. After the test, the tested component cannot be broken. In addition, technicians will make some reinforcement for the weak middle key area to avoid impact deformation and fracture, which will affect the function of the horn.
Continue to explore the application scope of sea going plastics
Lenovo program for the protection of marine ecology
It is Lenovo's new practice in plastic reduction to use sea plastic in products. Before that, Lenovo has been constantly exploring in the direction of plastic source control, and has practical experience in comprehensively controlling the application of recycled plastics. In terms of product design and material selection, Lenovo uses recycled plastics in its products through scientific evaluation and management methods, and ensures that the supply chain traceability management of recycled plastics is controllable and the material performance quality management meets the standard. Since 2005, Lenovo has used recycled plastics with a gross weight of more than 115million kg in desktop computers, workstations, notebook computers, monitors and peripherals. In addition, Lenovo took the lead in introducing biodegradable bamboo and sugarcane fiber packaging technologies in the industry, reducing the use of 3240 tons of packaging materials.
In addition, Lenovo has also combined the recycling of electronic products with the production of recycled plastics, which has more effectively promoted the recycling of waste electronic and electrical products and solved the problem of the source of recycled plastics. At present, Lenovo has used nearly 9million kilograms of recycled plastic materials from electronic waste. In 2021, Lenovo will apply closed-loop recycled plastics to 248 products, and 100% of display products contain closed-loop recycled plastics. Lenovo promises that by 2025, 100% of the computer products in the whole line will contain recycled plastics, and the cumulative usage will reach 130000 tons, so as to support the products to meet higher ecological design requirements and provide consumers with green and low-carbon products.
Although the current recycling and utilization cost of Tropicana plastics is high, Lenovo is still increasing its investment, actively considering introducing Tropicana plastics into more products such as desktop computers, peripheral keyboards and mice, and will simultaneously study the feasibility of introducing products across the board. On the occasion of the world ocean day, Lenovo Group also promised to focus on promoting the recycling and utilization of China's local sea going plastics, drive more upstream and downstream enterprises to join, promote the coordinated development of China's relevant industrial chains and supply chains, and contribute more to reducing marine plastic pollution and protecting the marine ecosystem.
Contact Person: Mr. Fan