"Hydrotexx ECO was designed to respond to the green-minded consumers in the pool and spa marketplace," says Chris Murray, general manager, liquid filtration for Freudenberg Filtration Technologies NA. "Incorporation of recycled products, improvement in energy efficiency, reuse of expended energy and landfill avoidance are all areas of focus for Freudenberg Filtration Technologies, the Freudenberg family of companies and our customers."
Freudenberg Filtration Technologies worked with its customer Meissner Manufacturing, who manufactures the Unicel brand and is one of the largest North American producers of replacement cartridges for the pool and spa market. The Unicel team initiated its concept for a recycled filter cartridge with the design of end caps and filter cores made of recycled materials. Freudenberg approached Unicel with the concept of Hydrotexx ECO and the Unicel green cartridge line was born.
Hydrotexx ECO is produced in Freudenberg's Durham, NC plant, which has been manufacturing with postindustrial recycled (PIR) material for several years and has just recently transitioned to processing 100% PCR material. PCR means extending the lifecycle of an original product for reuse into another application. PCR comes from converting used polyester bottles into a raw material that can be fed into the manufacturing process. About 23% of all polyester bottles in the U.S. are recovered through recycling and reprocessing.
The process begins with the collection, bundling, shredding and cleaning of discarded beverage bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Freudenberg then uses proprietary spunlaid manufacturing technology to make nonwoven polyester media from the shredded plastic. Every square yard of Hydrotexx ECO media produced keeps at least six 16-fluid-ounce plastic bottles out of a landfill.
"By incorporating recycled ECO products into filtration systems and applications, we are helping our customers achieve their own recycle targets and together becoming better stewards to the environment by promoting the use of PCR products," says Murray.
Unicel launched the green Hydrotexx ECO product at the U.S. National Pool & Spa exposition in November of 2010 and immediately received orders for the new ecologically friendly cartridges. Meissner has since expanded the line and featured the Unicel green cartridge line this year at the January East Coast show and earlier this month at the National Pool exposition.