What is the general process that turns toys into a new product such as playground equipment, for example?
Schulz: We first procure the material we need to make the new products. For example, private households mail material to us free of charge using shipping labels they can create on the website. We also collect material from residential sources such as schools and day nurseries.
A certified recycling company subsequently documents and checks the materials. The recycling process starts right here, which includes crushing, sorting, cleaning, processing, and recovery of non-recyclable components. Separating materials by type is a major challenge in this setting, as the collected toys are often mixed-material products. Design for recycling is a strategy that would make this process easier and more effective in the run-up.
This is followed by the required materials testing. The recycled material then becomes the foundation for the concept, design, and construction of the playground – we call this design from recycling. The final step is to use the material and create the new product.