Orthex Group uses Fortum Circo® in their flower pots and other household products.
Turning bags into boomerangs
10 October 2019
Fortum’s recycled plastic, Circo, helped the household goods manufacturer, Orthex to give households a new enthusiasm for recycling.
If you want to get people to do anything, the most effective way is to make it simple for them. And if what we want people to do is recycle, Orthex Group are doing a great job of making the job simpler.
“Our product”, says CEO Alexander Rosenlew, is easily understood by ordinary people. When they can see the bottles, cartons and other rubbish they throw away coming back into their homes as clean, bright, well-designed products that lead long and useful new lives, they absolutely get the point of recycling. They naturally do it more. And in turn that encourages others.”
The company was founded in its original form in 1914 and – several acquisitions later - had grown to a fairly respectable turnover by the time Rosenlew joined in 2010. However, soon afterwards, the life-changing decision was taken to become a leader in Sustainability and the Circular Economy.
Forming a significant partnership with Fortum (as well as other organisations), they began focusing their manufacture on reduced energy costs, recycled materials and bio-materials. They started experimenting seriously with using Fortum Circo, a recyclate made out of consumers’ plastic packaging waste, to replace their virgin raw materials in a number of product ranges.
Of course, it wasn’t always plain sailing – re-designing an entire production process never is. But over the next few years, both companies freely exchanged knowledge, ideas and feedback. A lot of clever, interesting people worked together with tireless enthusiasm.
As for costs – parts of the production process were more expensive, and in the early days there was more trial and error of course. But to compensate processes were refined and the consistent raw-material stream from Fortum played a key-role. Which meant they were able to offer consumers a quality, recycled product at an attractive price.
They’ve never looked back. Since then, sales have increased almost almost five-fold and, from their three state-of-the-art factories in Finland and Sweden, they supply products to over 40 countries around the world, including the USA. Orthex is now unquestionably the market leader in the Nordic countries for practical, functional and sustainable household products in plastic. Products that serve long working lives, and at the end of them they can be recycled and do it all over again. And again.
Their success - in a world where so many cynical companies design products to fail within a year or two - is built around the good, old-fashioned idea that products should have long lives. And to do this, they’ve had to crack the twin nuts of style and function. For a product to last the course of hard, daily use, year-in, year-out, it needs to be both tough enough to stay in one piece, and beautiful enough not to be thrown out in the annual household declutter.
As Rosenlew says, the timeless design of Orthex products speaks for itself. The durable product quality of the recycled products is a testament to the consistency of Fortum Circo. But it’s also the partnership, the combined vision of Fortum and Orthex working together that has created this movement and captured the imagination of the Finnish public - increasing demand for recycled goods.
Together, they’re created a completely new product category. The Boomerang Product. Throw it away and it keeps coming back.