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Impact of a higher degree of recycling

Higher recycling rates support a less negative climate impact

The energy consumption is significantly lower during material recycling than when extracting virgin resources. Lower energy consumption means reduced carbon dioxide emissions, which lead to increased climate benefits. When recycling, both energy, and virgin materials are saved. There is also a significant difference in carbon dioxide emissions when an industry uses recycled metals compared to using virgin material.

A few examples*: 

  • Recycling one tonne of steel saves 1.4 tonnes of iron ore, 0.8 tonnes of coal, 0.3 tonnes of limestone and additives, and 1.67 tonnes of CO2.
  • Using steel scrap instead of virgin ore reduces CO2 emissions by 58%.
  • By using aluminium scrap, CO2 emissions can be reduced by 92% compared to raw aluminium.
  • Using recycled steel to make new steel reduces air pollution by 86%, water use by 40%, and water pollution by 76%.

* Source: EuRIC Metal Recycling Factsheet

Higher recycling rates in the entire value chain

It is essential to do right at the source. To care for the resources we have, we must identify every place that affects them. As mentioned before, recycling waste won’t by itself do the trick. To achieve a significantly higher degree of recycling, we must identify the resources, see their value, create markets for secondary material, and find new reuse and recycling processes.

We need to design better, waste less in the production line, and take care of much more material otherwise lost in production. For example, it’s smart to ensure your procurers demand the subcontractors to use more recycled raw material. 

Being part of a sustainable economy builds your brand

A higher grade of recycling supports global initiatives towards a circular and sustainable economy. Decreasing the carbon dioxide footprint and lifting the waste hierarchy material will help a company’s brand communication and market offering.  

As we recycle more, climate benefits will increase. Note that the actual climate benefit becomes more significant the more we can reuse and recycle, for example, in your business. A higher degree of reuse and recycling of materials brings more value for everyone.

Several gains and benefits are coming from recycling to a higher degree. These benefits include saving material, time, energy and having a less negative climate impact. By making sure your business is benefiting from a higher recycling rate, you also contribute to a more sustainable society. 

Are you in control of your recycling rate?

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