Berlin. The recycling of recyclable materials makes a significant contribution to relieving the pressure on the climate. This is proven by the "resources SAVED by recycling" study presented today, which the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT prepared on behalf of the ALBA Group. According to the study, the ALBA Group saved 4.4 million tonnes of climate-damaging greenhouse gases in 2018 by recycling 5.6 million tonnes of recyclable materials. This corresponds to one per cent of the overall German CO2 savings compared to 1990 or to the climate protection effect of a mixed forest of over 441,000 hectares, comparable to an area almost twice the size of the Saarland. In addition, recycling saved 31.9 million tonnes of resources such as ores, coal or wood compared to primary production.
"To achieve the climate protection targets by 2030, recycling must become an integral part of all business activities," says Dr Axel Schweitzer, CEO of the ALBA Group. "Politicians are still wasting huge potential to relieve the pressure on the climate. Recycling makes it much easier and more effective to achieve climate protection than many measures in the climate protection package. We are also certain of the citizens' support, as it does not even burden them financially. Therefore, a world without waste is always as well a world with less greenhouse gases. This is why we need clear goals for the circular economy: The use of recyclates has to be promoted consistently, e.g. by implementing further quality standards and by the public authorities purchasing only products with a share of recyclates. Unfortunately, the Federal Government's new climate protection package should contain goals that are more ambitious."
"Our comprehensive balancing makes it possible to quantify the environmental effects of recycling precisely; this is an important signal in light of the current climate protection discussion," says Dr Ing Markus Hiebel, Director of the Department for Sustainability and Resources Management at the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT. Compared to previous years, the investment in innovative technologies and energy-efficient processes, such as the Recycled Resource plastics recycling process developed by the ALBA Group, had a positive effect. Today, the use of high-quality recycled plastics already saves more than 50 percent of climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions compared to the use of new granulate from crude oil.
"To exploit the full potential of recycled raw materials, however, we must focus even more strongly than before on the design and manufacture of recyclable products and packaging in future," stresses Markus Hiebel.
With its "Made for Recycling" service, a scientifically sound methodology for assessing recyclability, the environmental services provider Interseroh, a member of the ALBA Group, is already providing companies with targeted support in the sustainable optimisation of their packaging. This method was developed by Interseroh together with the bifa environmental institute (bifa Umweltinstitut) and was finally reviewed by the experts of the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV (Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV).
The Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT has been investigating how the ALBA Group's recycling activities affect the climate and natural resources for twelve years now. Its results are published annually in the “resources SAVED by recycling” brochure. The material flows for plastics, metals, waste electrical and electronic equipment, wood, paper/board/cardboard, lightweight packaging and glass were included in the study in 2018.
You can find the complete results of the study and Best Practices for Recycling from the ALBA Group on the information portal www.resources-saved.com.
About Fraunhofer UMSICHT
Fraunhofer UMSICHT is a pioneer of sustainable energy and raw materials management, providing scientific results and transferring them to businesses, society and politics. Working together with partners, the dedicated team researches and develops sustainable products, processes and services that inspire. We want our developments to be economically successful, socially equitable and sustainable. The balance between these objectives is always at the forefront of our thinking. Based in Oberhausen, Willich and Sulzbach-Rosenberg in Germany, the institute in 2018 generated a turnover of more than 42.2 million euros with a staff of 529 persons. As one of 72 institutes and research units of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the leading organisation for applied research in Europe, we are a worldwide network and promote international collaborations.
More information on Fraunhofer UMSICHT can be found at www.umsicht.fraunhofer.de.