The Berlin-based Alba Group has funded a study that concludes its recycling activity saved more than 4.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from entering the atmosphere in 2019. The study, undertaken by the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute, says the atmospheric protection was the result of “the closed-loop circulation of 6 million metric tons of recyclables” processed by Alba Group.
“Recycling leads to far fewer GHG emissions than the use of primary raw materials,” states Axel Schweitzer, CEO of the Alba Group. “The use of our quality-tested recycled plastics, for example, reduces emissions of GHGs by more than 50 percent in comparison with the production of plastics from crude oil. There is no better argument for the increased use of recyclates.”
Comments Ing Markus Hiebel, director of the Sustainability and Participation Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT), “Our life cycle analysis demonstrates the currently excellent potential of recycling for climate protection right down to the kilogram. The better the individual stakeholders in the value chain of products and packaging collaborate, the greater the potential for possible savings.”
Adds Hiebel, “All in all, further incentives should be created to increase the use of recyclates. If the share of recyclates becomes a purchasing criterion in the procurement, this will significantly increase demand.”
Schweitzer says the study demonstrates governments should do more to support recycling. “From the perspective of the environmental services provider, it [is] incomprehensible that in the amendment to the Circular Economy Act, the German Bundestag once again failed to specify minimum quotas for the use of recyclates. This means that another opportunity has been missed to push ahead with the transition from a resource-intensive to low-CO2 economy in which raw materials aren’t lost but are recycled.”
The German government should use its presidency of the European Union Council to boost recycling mandates, adds Schweitzer. “The [German] federal government must still take the opportunity to encourage Brussels to create markets for recyclates. Whatever happens, we shall continue to work unwaveringly on improving the quality of recycling, thereby paving the way for a climate-friendly world without waste.”
The Alba Group operates recycling facilities under the Alba and Interseroh brands in Germany, other parts of Europe and in Asia. In 2018, the 8,000 employees of its two divisions generated 2 billion euros ($2.36 billion) in sales.