New research: recycling plastics yields environmental gains

Plastic recycling provides environmental benefits

Trade association NRK Recycling commissioned CE Delft to conduct research into the potential climate benefits of using mechanically recycled plastics in the manufacture of new products. This CE Delft study showed that recycling plastics yields substantial environmental gains and therefore makes good sense. For example, using mechanically recycled plastic yields a CO2 gain of 2.6 to 4.6 kilograms (depending on the type of plastic ), per kilogram of recycled plastic used. This number compares to using new fossil plastics to make new products.

More plastic needs to be recycled

According to research firm CE Delft, the use of mechanically recycled plastic in the making of new products yields substantial environmental gains. It is becoming increasingly necessary for companies to work more sustainably. One way to achieve this is to use mechanically recycled plastics instead of new fossil fuels. The fact that the use of mechanical plastics has a smaller footprint on the environment is because these raw materials are reused through recycling, eliminating the need to use new fossil fuels to make products.

Besides not being good for the environment, it is also a waste not to recycle plastics. When plastic is recycled, the materials are reused, but otherwise it ends up in the incinerator. This also causes a lot of CO2 emissions, which again is bad for the environment. According to CE Delft, too much plastic is still bandaged in the incinerator today, purely because it is not collected separately from other garbage and is not recycled.

Encouraging legislation in plastic recycling essential

For a company to use mechanical plastics to make products, it is essential that there be incentive legislation. For example, there should be a mandatory minimum percentage set by law on the amount of recycled material in plastic articles. For suppose a legal percentage of at least 30% recycled material in plastic articles were to be set, you would save emissions of 38 million cars a year.

There should also be a ban on the incineration of properly sortable plastics. This is because these plastics are well suited for recycling and therefore it would be a waste not to include them in the process. This ban could allow recycling organizations to get their hands on more material to recycle.