The Accent’s on the Environment at Beko Parent Arçelik

Arçelik CEO Hakan Bulgurlu delivers his eco-conscious keynote at IFA 2019 in Berlin.

Arçelik may be the biggest appliance manufacturer you’ve never heard of.

Founded in 1955, the Turkish conglomerate operates in 146 countries under 12 different brands and is the leading home appliance resource in Europe. Perhaps more familiar on these shores are its recent U.S. imports, the sleek and tech-forward Beko and Blomberg kitchen and laundry lines.

But for Arçelik size isn’t everything. The foremost feature of its product line has been energy efficiency, as exemplified by its early-to-market ventless heat pump dryers. Now the company is carrying its concern for the environment to the next level with a series of sustainable technologies that may help cleanse the oceans and put the brakes on climate change.

Speaking in September at IFA 2019, the world’s largest consumer tech and appliance show, Arçelik’s CEO Hakan Bulgurlu stressed the need for environmentally-friendly manufacturing and industry collaboration, and heralded a host of new technologies that the vendor is eager to share.

“As a company with a global footprint … we made it our mission to do everything within our power to make a change as time is running out in the fight against environmental disasters, most importantly climate catastrophe,” he said in his keynote address. “That’s why we believe creating a value through reducing the environmental damage that we are causing as an industry is a key opportunity we should seize.”

Bulgurlu said humanity is damaging the environment at a quicker rate than it can renew itself, and that consumers are actively searching for products that will help avert a global crisis – and are willing to pay more for them.

Key among Arçelik’s innovations is the world’s first washer with synthetic microfiber filtration. More than 1 million microfibers are flushed with every laundry load and make their way to the ocean, where they are consumed by marine life and ultimately by us. The new filtration system, located in the detergent drawer, blocks 90 percent of the microfibers before the wash water is discharged, Bulgurlu said, and will begin appearing in company washers next year.

Other new eco-friendly technologies from Arçelik include:

  • Washer tubs made of recycled soda bottles (PET);
  • “Bio” fridges constructed with bioplastic made from soy, eggshells, corn and other food residue whose carbon footprint is 80 percent lower than conventional plastics;
  • Recovered fishing nets that Arçelik is reprocessing into nylon-based composite material for use in oven parts, which would otherwise trap marine animals for decades to come; and
  • An off-grid, high-efficiency DC refrigerator that runs on solar power and goes into production next year.

Twenty-five million PET bottles, or 250 tons of plastic, have already been reclaimed for the washer tubs, saving 5.7 million KWh energy and preventing 885 tons of CO2 emissions, Bulgurlu said, while 65 tons of fishing nets were upcycled last year.

He further described microfiber filtration as “one of the most important innovations to come out of Arçelik [with] the potential to create far-reaching and significant change in our world. We have made significant investments in R&D and we are keen on working together with NGOs [non-governmental organizations], universities and other stakeholders to expand this project,” he said, and invited fellow appliance manufacturers to adopt and embrace the new technology.