Continued growth in companies replacing old variable-speed drives for new has led to ABB’s recycling scheme reaching a new high of 100 metric tons of drives. Drive users have been encouraged to replace old drives for newer more efficient models by ABB’s swappage scheme, which offers at least 17.5 per cent discount on the purchase cost, as well as help obtaining government aid under various national energy saving initiatives.

ABB collects waste drives, either its own or those produced by other manufacturers, through bins sited at the premises of ABB Drives Alliance members. Although not required to by the WEEE Directive, ABB offers the recycling scheme as a service to its customers. In the case of large drives or large quantities of smaller drives, ABB’s approved waste carrier S2S Lifecycle Services collects directly from the end user.

The drives are recycled in accordance with the Environment Protection Act of 1990 and the WEEE directive guidelines. All old drives are stripped down to recover any recyclable materials such as copper, aluminium and circuit boards and old electrolytic capacitors are removed for safe disposal. The S2S site has a full waste management permit and is registered as an approved authorised treatment facility (AATF) under the WEEE directive.

Up to 90 per cent, by weight, of ABB’s drives can be reused or recycled. Once the drive has been removed for recycling, ABB issues a certificate that can be used for environmental audits by end users complying with ISO 14001.

By choosing to replace an older drive with a new model, users can make an immediate impact on their carbon footprint. Depending on size, operating a drive for just half a day could cut enough carbon emissions to fully compensate for the carbon impact of manufacturing and disposal of the drive itself. An ABB industrial drive can typically provide a total lifetime savings of around 7,500MWh or 3,800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.