Seco Expands Carbide Recycling Program

Although the company says sustainability is part of its corporate culture, carbide recycling has benefits beyond the environmental.

Cutting tool manufacturer Seco Tools (Troy, Michigan) collected 15 percent more used carbide in 2014 than the previous year for its North American Carbide Recycling Program. The company received 350 returns during the year and processed a total of 144,877 pounds (65,715 kg) of used carbide tools. Since the recycling program began in 2011, Seco Tools globally has received over a half million pounds (226,796 kg) of carbide returned as grade powder. 

Seco provides participating manufacturers with small, medium or large storage containers to place in their facilities. Small 1-pint containers hold approximately 11 pounds (5 kg) of carbide; medium 1-gallon containers hold approximately 50 pounds (23 kg); and large 30-gallon drums accommodate approximately 2,000 pounds (910 kg). Any carbide products can be placed in the containers, including inserts, solid drills, solid end mills, wear parts and PCD/PCBN-tipped inserts. Seco periodically collects the containers and pays manufacturers at the market rate for the carbide that is returned.

In addition to the environmental benefits of recycling, the program helps to address the growing global demand for tungsten, which comprises 75 percent of cemented carbide tools. As much as 95 percent of the material in a typical carbide insert can be reclaimed, helping to ensure the long-term sustainability of the metal cutting industry. Seco says recycling reduces related energy consumption by 35 percent and cuts CO2 emissions by 40 percent. 

Companies participating in the recycling program represent a cross section of industries and regions. Major customers include John Deere, GE, Manes Machine, MessierDowty, Haas Automation, Caterpillar, Ellwood National Crankshift, American Axle, Snap-On, NOV, and NTK Precision Axle.

The program has also been recognized by the National Association of Business Resources, which named Seco one of “Michigan’s Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies.” It also presented the company with its 2014 National Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies Award, which celebrates organizations that inspire and produce green technology to impact the industry, environment, health and safety, and the lives of their employees.

“We are deeply committed to sustainability and being a leader in environmental initiatives,” says Robert Keenan, president of Seco Tools, LLC. “It’s an important part of our corporate culture that is integrated throughout everything we do. Plus, our customers appreciate the opportunity this program provides to them to contribute to a cleaner, safer environment.”