Stanley Black & Decker, Heritage on turning materials waste into an asset

INDIANAPOLIS -March 26, 2021 – Four years ago, the United Nations sounded an alarm over the devastating impact the rising amount of material waste has on the planet.

Corporations extract natural resources and turn them into products and packaging that consumers typically use once and throw away. Between 2010 and 2017, the global material footprint grew 17 percent to 85.9 billion tons. After the U.N. in 2017 made ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns one of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the number of technology startups in the Techstars sustainability portfolio focused on developing materials innovations to enable manufacturers to design products and packaging with less material has been growing.

So, too, has the number of corporations who want to help these startups succeed.

They share our belief that entrepreneurs’ creativity and ingenuity is needed now more than ever to build the climate and sustainability solutions manufacturers need to reduce their products’ carbon footprints. By serving as mentors and collaborators to startups to accelerate the development of their solutions and grow their businesses, they’re helping turn the unsustainable linear product lifecycle model into a circle where materials are more easily recycled and reused.

Stanley Black & Decker, a global provider of hand and power tools and other products for myriad business and consumer applications, established the Stanley + Techstars Accelerator to support startups developing solutions for artificial intelligence (AI) in advanced manufacturing, additive manufacturing and sustainable packaging to help manufacturers make measurable progress on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.

Dan Fitzgerald, senior director of product sustainability at Stanley Black & Decker, said adopting more sustainable materials is one of many steps manufacturers can take today to make measurable progress on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. He recommends manufacturers begin by asking themselves two key questions:

  1. Are we putting materials out in the field that have a chance of seeing a second life?
  2. Are we using the lowest impact material to deliver the required function?

“By selecting items that are recyclable, and not making design decisions that would prevent recycling, you’re at least providing the opportunity that the product could be recycled,” Fitzgerald said. “When you start searching for more sustainable materials, which are typically made of higher levels of recycled content, you know that your products reaching end of life have the opportunity to re-enter the supply chain and close the loop.”

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