Press releases

Miele increases commitment to Circular Economy and gives washing machines a second lease of life

Gütersloh/Vianen, December 5, 2023 No. 122/2023
  • Sale of used washing machines in the Netherlands

  • Several refurbishment and recycling projects have been running for a year

  • Circularity as focus of sustainability strategy

Conserving resources, reducing waste, returning materials and products into circulation: A fully functional circular economy is the key to rising to the challenges of climate change, the waste crisis and scarce resources. Miele has pronounced the circular economy a strategic issue and embarked on a course of action. The company is currently trialling various aspects of circularity under real-life conditions. The domestic appliance manufacturer is selling refurbished washing machines in the Netherlands and researching a reuse of parts and materials.

'With our durable and energy-saving domestic appliances we have been making a valuable contribution for decades towards conserving natural resources, and now intend to implement the principle of circularity at Miele with even greater conviction', says Rebecca Steinhage, Executive Director Human Resources and Corporate Affairs and responsible for sustainability at Miele. True to Miele's own motto of 'Immer Besser', Miele has set itself the goal of 'creating a circular value creation chain in which all materials used in our appliances are returned into circulation at the end of their life cycles.'

Refurbishment project in the Netherlands successful

For over a year now, a Miele pilot project has therefore been running in the Netherlands to sell refurbished washing machines, that have been checked, repaired, cleaned and then offered with the ‘refurbished’ label. In the process, the machines are subjected to similar tests as new appliances before being sold at a reduced price. Half of the machines selected for the refurbishment project can, indeed, be repaired so that they are once again fully functional. 'This gives our washing machines a new lease of life and allows us to offer customers Miele quality at an attractive price', maintains Rebecca Steinhage.

Washing machines which cannot be repaired take another route: The high-quality electronic controls are removed and processed by a specialised company in Germany. They are then sold to consumers who reinstall them themselves. Over 90% of the electronic units harvested in this way can provide many years of reliable service.

In another part of the project, the detergent dispenser drawers are removed from the machines as these lend themselves well to recycling on account of their material composition. The material is separated out and sent to a recycling company where it is reprocessed as granulate for reuse in production. Miele is using this material to research on quality and possible applications for the future.

Company profile: Miele is the world's leading manufacturer of premium domestic appliances including cooking, baking and steam-cooking appliances, refrigeration products, coffee makers, dishwashers and laundry and floor care products. Their product portfolio also includes dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers for commercial use as well as washer-disinfectors and sterilisers for use in medical and laboratory applications. Founded in 1899, the company has eight production plants in Germany, one each in Austria, the Czech Republic, China, Romania and Poland as well as two production plants belonging to its Italian medical technology subsidiary Steelco. Sales in the 2022 business year amounted to around € 5.43 bn. Miele is represented with its own sales subsidiaries and via importers in almost 100 countries/regions. Throughout the world, the family-run enterprise, now in its fourth generation, employs a workforce of around 23,300, of which approx. 11,900 employees work in Germany. The company has its headquarters in Gütersloh in Westphalia.

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A circular economy is at the focus of Miele's sustainability strategy. Highly durable Miele domestic appliances which go easy on resources already make a considerable contribution to it. (Photo: Miele)

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In the Netherlands, a pilot project has been launched in which washing machines are refurbished and sold on at attractive prices. (Photo: Miele)

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