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Our sector is part of the climate change solution

30 November 2021

Bas van GinkelBas Van Ginkel is strategy and business development director and executive committee member at Renewi

“Renewi believes that global leaders need to recognise the crucial role of waste and recycling management when considering net-zero. In this we agree with the CIWM. The sidelining of waste and recycling representatives at COP26 is a major oversight, given that research clearly indicates that a fully circular economy would cut greenhouse emissions by 39%.

“Circularity is not an easy prospect and will require considerable investment and innovation in order to be effective. Our main challenge is to increase the volume and quality of material recycling and consequently send less waste to landfill and incinerators.

“Waste-to-product companies have a big role to play, but it is also a responsibility of producers, consumers and regulators if we are to meet the carbon reductions that we know are possible.

“We have seen first-hand some of the opportunities that are possible through Renewi’s partnerships with Shell and Nordsol to create Bio-LNG fuel from out-of-date supermarket food, and with Ikea to recycle mattresses to recover metal, textile, and latex and polyurethane. Not to mention our advanced sorting of residual waste which now saves around 100,000 tonnes of CO2a year.

“In the long run, secondary products must be of the same calibre as virgin products to create a self-sustaining circular economy. But there is also a need to incentivise the use of secondary materials.

“Regulators can do this by using progressive taxation to ensure virgin materials are taxed according to their carbon footprint, making secondary materials economically competitive.

“On top of the above, we have launched the ambitious Mission75, a programme that takes our industry-leading recycling rate of 66% up to 75% at the highest possible product quality by 2025. This programme includes project innovation awards and local events to drive new ideas from individuals on how to best recycle as effectively as possible.

“Recycling and waste management are an integral part of responding to the climate emergency. This requires creativity and innovation, as well as long-term leadership from producers and politicians.

“This widespread commitment to circularity, supported by strategic partnerships, will allow us to achieve these goals and keep global warming below 1.5º above pre-industrial levels.”

More information: https://www.mrw.co.uk/analysis-and-markets/industry-bangs-its-drum-hard-at-the-cop-event-23-11-2021/