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Boosting sustainability in the design and production of fibre cables

Prysmian in Milan has developed the first fibre optic network using over 90 percent polyethylene, which decreases the impact of raw material production and in turn, the amount of CO2 emissions. Prysmian reused 54 percent of its drums in 2020 to reduce its impact on product packaging, and also monitors the percentage of waste that the company recycles on a global scale.

“Fibre can play a significant role in improving circularity, which should be a large focus for companies around the world. By making design and production processes more sustainable, we can all reduce the CO2 emissions that are being released,” said Philippe Vanhille, Prysmian Group Executive Vice President Telecom Business.

The company points to future-proofing capabilities offered by fibre optic through its compatibility with foreseen iterations of fixed and mobile networks – from fibre to the curb (FTTC) to fibre to the home (FTTH) and from Open RAN to 6G – which further contributes to green targets by reducing emissions from new material development and installation.

“As the impact of climate change becomes more severe, the fibre optic production industry must seek to raise its standards when it comes to circularity. In 2019, Prysmian set the goal of reaching between 64 and 66 percent of waste recycled, which we exceeded in 2020. But there is always more that can be done, and all businesses in the telecoms industry must play their part.”

In addition to recycling materials, cables are becoming smaller and are having an immediate effect on CO2 emissions. If the diameter of a cable is reduced, the volume of material used will also decrease. This leads to a direct reduction in the overall CO2 footprint during the design process, but this also has a knock-on effect on the rest of the supply chain.

“If a cable is designed to offer a high performance but with a smaller diameter, less materials are needed to create that cable. In addition, it is possible to fit more cables per drum and fewer drums per shipment, which has a positive impact on the number of carbon emissions during transport,” said Vanhille. “Design features can play a vital role when it comes to sustainability and meeting greener targets, and must be a key consideration when it comes to developing cabling solutions.” eeNews Europe

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