World Environment Day 2023: beating plastic pollution with the closed-loop economy

7-minute read

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day. Over the years, this day has developed into a global event for environmental activities, with people, governments, businesses and cities participating from all over the world. Since 1972, this day is now celebrated in over 150 countries on 5 June. The host country changes every year. In 2023, World Environment Day is being hosted by Ivory Coast, with support provided by Netherlands. This year’s slogan for the event is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.

Drinking tap water to avoid plastic bottles

One extremely helpful measure when aiming to counter plastic pollution is to drink tap water instead of mineral water from plastic bottles. Worldwide, around 1 million plastic bottles are sold every minute, of which up to 80 percent are not then recycled. Instead, they enter the environment, where they endanger habitats and the health of people and animals. Tap water in Germany is of an excellent quality and can be consumed without any health concerns. Drinking water is supplied by utilities to the household mains at a very high quality. To ensure that drinking water quality is maintained within a building, SCHELL offers many solutions, which also help to save water.

SCHELL is focusing on the circular economy

As a thought leader in sustainability, SCHELL has lots to offer the 2023 World Environment Day. One option for companies to become more active in sustainability is to pursue the establishment of a – potentially endless – closed-loop economy. In this model, raw materials and products are recycled and reused in the company instead of being disposed of. The system, which is also known as the cradle-to-cradle approach, has been successfully practised at SCHELL for many years, since SCHELL strongly believes in a responsible attitude to nature. For this reason, the Product Development team at SCHELL is careful to select the materials used to ensure that the product lifecycle can be optimised towards creating a loss-free loop. According to the cradle-to-cradle principle, materials are reused and repurposed. This includes collecting all of the brass chippings and swarf created during production, and returning these materials to the supplier. This is a significant step, since brass is the primary material for producing SCHELL’s angle valves and fittings.

Day-to-day sustainability in Olpe

However, resource-friendly production is only one facet of company strategy here. The daily schedule at SCHELL is all designed to put sustainability into practice. As one example, an efficient LED lighting system is installed in Production with intelligent controls for environmentally friendly light. Both of the factories as well as the admin building use 100 percent green electricity from alternative energy sources, which also supplies the EV charging points on the premises. Alongside electric vehicles, SCHELL also helps employees who commute by bicycle. Another major advantage is the fact that the company’s factories are both based in Olpe: this keeps travel to a minimum, resulting in a reduced need for logistics and therefore lower carbon emissions. So sustainability is put into practice internally and also ‘exported’ with our products – which also help you become more environmentally friendly when you use them.

Better sustainability for any building with SCHELL

These sustainable processes have an impact within the company and in the wider world, thanks to SCHELL’s products. Anyone who installs SCHELL’s products benefits from their no-compromise approach to quality. Anything that needs to be replaced after a short time is bad for the environment – this is why SCHELL products are very long-lived and vandal-resistant. Self-closing and contactless electronic fittings from SCHELL also help to save water. Self-closing taps, for example, can cut water usage by up to 55 percent compared with standard, single-lever mixers. And a contactless tap can save up to 70 percent in the same comparison.

Support for maintaining water quality with SWS

To maintain drinking water hygiene, regulations in Germany require a full exchange of water every 72 hours across all tapping points within the building. More detailed information can be found in this article. The SCHELL SWS Water Management System offers efficient and sustainable support for maintaining drinking water hygiene. This is because SWS facilitates the central control and monitoring of networked electronic SCHELL fittings with the SWS Server. Stagnation flushes, which are essential to ensure the necessary exchange of water in a building in the event of longer interruptions in use or fluctuations in usage patterns, can be executed and logged automatically. Groups can also be set up, to flush multiple fittings at the same time. This achieves high flow velocities in the installation piping and specified normal operation can therefore be simulated. This offers optimum support for operators looking to maintain drinking water quality. Thanks to SWS, error-prone, manual stagnation flushes are now a thing of the past. The manual opening and closing of fittings consumes significantly more water than automated flushes, since it takes a while until all fittings are opened and flushing simultaneously. With SWS, the resulting personnel costs can also be avoided, thanks to this automation of stagnation flushes.

Maintenance work such as battery replacements can also be planned efficiently with SWS. So SWS not only offers support for maintaining drinking water quality but also for conducting operations efficiently while conserving resources.

Our article here provides you with even more information about how to save water and energy.


The 50th anniversary of World Environment Day on 5 June 2023 serves as a reminder that we still need to focus strongly on sustainability. One important step here is to reduce plastic pollution by drinking tap water instead of mineral water from plastic bottles – just as is called for by the slogan of 2023 World Environment Day. The SCHELL SWS Water Management System offers efficient and sustainable support for maintaining drinking water quality in buildings.

At SCHELL, sustainability is also an integral part of the company DNA, with one key aspect being the pursuit of a – potentially endless – circular economy. The daily routine at SCHELL is also designed to be sustainable, with 100 percent green electricity and EV charging points being just two examples.

Anyone using SCHELL’s long-lived products also benefits from this pursuit of sustainability. Self-closing and contactless, electronic fittings can also help to save water, while the SWS Water Management System offers enormous benefits to improving sustainability and efficiency when handling our precious resource of water. The SCHELL Team is ready to advise and assist you. More information about sustainability is also provided in our brochure, which you can download here.

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