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Greener washing with the circular economy

What do you do with detergents that are out of date? Veolia came up with the idea of reusing them for washing vehicles.

Reclaiming waste detergents and using them to wash vehicles - one of the innovative ideas tested by Veolia in the UK, in partnership with one of its customers.

We all know about food and the need to meet high standards so that it is safe to eat. But not everyone knows that detergents have to meet high standards too or they cannot be sold. They could be the wrong colour or the wrong perfume. They could be incorrectly labelled or have passed their sell-by date.

With this in mind, one the world’s leading consumer packaged goods provider - 10 product categories, 65 brands, 4.6 billion customers, 76.3 billion in revenue in 2015 - and Veolia came up with a simple idea : why not think about ways of reusing these out of specification but still effective detergents?

The result was called "Cyclone TFR". Not because it sweeps away everything in its path, but because it tells a perfectly circular economy story for an everyday consumer product.

Instead of becoming waste, the liquid is collected by Veolia and remanufactured to be reused as a Traffic Film Remover (TFR) for washing trucks and other vehicles. The process has been developed and tested on the Veolia Norwood site in Sheffield. This idea has been rolled out to all other Veolia facilities and is being sold externally to fleet managers across the UK.

Main picture: Getty Images

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