A study completed by Fraunhofer UMSICHT, Oberhausen, Germany, for the Alba Group, headquartered in Berlin, demonstrates how the circular economy is of key relevance to a successful climate policy. This is because recycling provides the opportunity to achieve sustainable economic development which, as demanded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, respects the limits surrounding the global availability of resources.
Alba Group’s business activities have enabled the prevention of some 4.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the study. This is equivalent to the average annual emissions of a city of 375,000 inhabitants, such as Wuppertal or Bochum. A forest would have to cover some 428,000 hectares to absorb the same volume of greenhouse gases, the study notes. Moreover, last year, the Alba Group conserved some 4.3 million metric tons of material and 36.2 million metric tons of primary resources thanks to its loop management system.
“There can be no delaying the drive to protect our climate and save resources, says Axel Schweitzer, chairman of the board of the Alba Group. “The current global developments make this more than clear. “In the run-up to the COP23 World Climate Conference in Bonn this November, highlighting the huge potential of recycling is of central importance. Companies operating in the loop economy have the know-how and technologies to be able to complete more and more loops together with partners from the worlds of industry, retail, services and logistics, and to, therefore, reduce greenhouse gases and save resources on a straightforward and effective basis. If everyone pulls together, it will be possible to achieve the climate targets of the UN.”
Dr. Eng. Markus Hiebel, director of the Department for Sustainability and Resources Management at the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, adds, “If taken to its logical outcome, the circular economy will ultimately lead to a radically changed economic model. In a number of surveys, we have already demonstrated that the Alba Group doesn’t only relieve the burden on the environment through its ‘conventional’ recycling. Projects dedicated to the manufacturing of high-quality recycling plastics, innovative collection systems and the reuse of IT (information technology) equipment are also driving the necessary move away from the throwaway society.”
The Fraunhofer Institute for the Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (Umwelt, Sicherheits und Energietechnik, or UMSICHT), has now been researching how the recycling activities of the Alba Group impact the environment, specifically the climate and natural resources, for 10 years. Its results are published each year in the “Resources Saved by Recycling” brochure. In this year’s study, the scientists took a detailed look at the material streams of metals, old electrical equipment, paper/cardboard/carton, glass, lightweight packaging, plastics and wood. In addition, with the use of case examples from the individual material streams, the current brochure highlights how a holistic circular economy can be realized.
The full results of the survey are available online at the ALBA Group information portal at www.resources-saved.com.