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Proof of plastic recycling’s contribution to climate protection

Germany – In a follow-up to the United Nations’ climate change conference in Paris late last year, German environment minister Barbara Hendricks has set clear goals for the recycling and waste sectors. ‘Over the next 34 years, emissions have to be reduced by 70%,’ she insists. This will be no easy task as these industries have already cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 70% since 1990.

German plastics recyclers Multiport and MultiPet have committed themselves to this goal by optimising their production processes. The technical university of Magdeburg-Stendal in Germany is monitoring their results on a yearly basis, with recent research at Multiport ascertaining a 74.4% reduction in emissions during the production of HDPE compounds when compared with production of primary HDPE plastics from virgin oil.

Total emission reductions in 2015 amounted to 40.9 million kg of CO2 equivalents, or 864 317 kg more than in 2014. MultiPet, meanwhile, achieved a saving of 2.27 kg CO2 per kg of PET flakes produced for a total reduction of almost 67 million kg. If this 2.27 kg CO2 saving is extrapolated to the 504 000 tonnes of PET bottles discarded in 2015, this would equate to a saving of 823 737 tonnes of CO2.

According to the two companies, plastics could make an even bigger contribution to emissions reduction if politicians raised recycling quotas.

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