According to calculations by the World Bank, approximately two-thirds of household waste is still incinerated or landfilled. In its 4th global conference, industry leaders joined TOMRA, the Norwegian specialist for waste collection, sorting and recycling, to continue to set the course for sorting and recycling significantly more plastic from household waste in the future. Along with presentations and discussions, the conference also included a tour of a state-of-the-art plastic waste sorting and recycling demo plant, a joint venture between TOMRA, Borealis and Zimmermann in Lahnstein, Rhineland-Palatinate. Here, conference participants witnessed how post-consumer plastic packaging is sorted from household waste, thus safeguarding recyclable materials from being lost to incineration. The plant directly processes the plastics into high-quality recyclate of virgin material quality, replacing fossil fuels in primary production and reducing CO2 emissions.
“It’s actually quite simple: decades of experience have shown time and again that pre-sorting of waste determines the recycling result,” explained Tove Andersen, the new President and CEO of TOMRA at the two-day “Closing the Loop on Plastic” conference in Frankfurt on October 5 and 6. “Our goal must be to recycle plastic waste in a way that keeps it in circulation for as long as possible. The more clear, practical and ambitious green legislation is, the faster we will be able to keep this material in a closed loop worldwide.”
A recent study by London-based think tank Eunomia, commissioned by TOMRA, found that by significantly increasing recycling rates and improving resource management practices, greenhouse gas emissions worldwide could be reduced by 2.76 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year – comparable to more than 600 million cars on the road annually.
In collaboration with partners across the plastics industry, TOMRA has an ambitious plan of enabling collection of as much material for recycling as possible as well as increasing the amount of this material that is recycled in a closed loop. This would be a decisive step towards reducing CO2 emissions and conserving resources.