In the run-up to COP23: recycling is a key factor for UN climate targets

ALBA Group presents 10th survey of resources

+++ In 2016, ALBA Group recycling saved some 4.3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and some 36.2 million tonnes of primary resources +++ Anniversary: the Fraunhofer UMSICHT confirms the positive environmental impact of the closed cycle management system for the 10th time +++ Eco-design, reuse and the sharing economy support the move away from the throwaway society +++

Berlin. In the survey that it presented today, the Fraunhofer UMSICHT confirmed the positive environmental impact of recycling for the tenth time. According to the scientists’ findings, the closed cycle management system for materials conserves natural raw materials to a decisive degree and also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The survey that was completed on behalf of the ALBA Group 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 Chancellor Angela Merkel – respects the limits surrounding the global availability of resources and makes everyone into a winner.

In the anniversary year of the survey, the business activities of the provider of raw materials and environmental services enabled the prevention of some 4.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This is equivalent to the average annual emissions of a city of 375,000 inhabitants, such as Wuppertal or Bochum. A mixed forest would have to cover some 428,000 hectares to absorb the same volume of greenhouse gases. Moreover, last year, the ALBA Group proved able to conserve some 4.3 million tonnes of materials and 36.2 million tonnes of primary resources thanks to its loop management system.

“There can be no delaying the drive to protect our climate and save resources. The current global developments make this more than clear,” explained Dr. Axel Schweitzer, Chairman of the Board of the ALBA Group. “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.”

“If taken to its logical outcome, the circular economy will ultimately lead to a radically changed economic model,” highlighted Dr. Eng. Markus Hiebel, Director of the Department for Sustainability and Resources Management at the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT. “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 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 – UMSICHT), has now been researching how the recycling activities of the ALBA Group impact the environment – specifically the climate and natural resources – for ten years. Its results are published each year in the “resources SAVED by recycling” brochure. In this year’s survey, 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 realised on a definitive basis.

The full results of the survey are available online at the ALBA Group information portal: www.resources-saved.com.

About Fraunhofer UMSICHT

Fraunhofer UMSICHT is a pioneer of sustainable energy and raw material management, providing and transferring scientific findings to business, society and politics. Together with its partners, the UMSICHT team researches and develops sustainable products, processes and services which are very impressive. In this respect, it focuses on the balance between economically successful, socially just and environmentally friendly developments. In 2016, the institute and its 465 staff generated a turnover of more than 38.8 million euros. As one of 69 institutes and research facilities in the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe's leading applied research organisation, we are part of a global network and promote international collaboration.

More information on Fraunhofer UMSICHT can be found at www.umsicht.fraunhofer.de

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