190 kilograms. This is the average waste produced per person in Switzerland each year.
In order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, more and more recycling will have to be done in the coming years. A circular economy is vital. Recycling should reduce cumulative CO2 emissions by 2.77 gigatons over the next 30 years. More than $ 70 billion could be saved in this way.
Companies offering waste management systems or sustainable packaging should therefore benefit from strong secular growth.
The world is increasingly urbanizing. In concrete terms, this means that more and more people are exchanging rural life for the city. Today about 4 billion people live in cities. By 2050, this figure should reach 7 billion, according to Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser of Our World in Data. This growth is mainly occurring in emerging markets. Urbanization is accompanied by a growing stream of waste. In the past 100 years, the amount of waste has already increased by 1000% and experts believe that the amount of waste can double again by 2025. The increasing prosperity and the consumption pattern (overconsumption) of the world population are the culprits in this. Households are responsible for about half of all waste. In developed countries, paper, plastic, glass and metal account for half of all garbage. That is precisely the materials that have a lot of recycling potential.
An OECD study concludes that the greenhouse gases of several countries are more than 50% related to materials. It is therefore an understatement to say that the consumption of materials and raw materials is a major cause of CO2 emissions. To reduce these emissions, we must fully commit to a circular economy. The aim is to shrink the mountain of waste and to reuse unusable materials as raw materials for new products. In this way, the impact on the environment is reduced. It is clear that a circular economy has many advantages. For example, it ensures less waste, increases the efficiency of the source materials used, it contributes in the long term to a more competitive economy and it creates many jobs.
The future of recycling
In the coming decades, substantial investments will have to be made in waste management systems and sustainable packaging. So innovation certainly plays an important role on an industrial level. Governments must make it a primary goal to invest in new recycling technologies. According to Paul Hawken, the driving force behind the Drawdown project, recycled paper alone could reduce CO2 emissions by 0.9 gigatons over the next 30 years. Recycled paper emits 25% less CO2 than traditional paper. There are still a lot of possibilities for industrial and household waste in particular. The use of new materials and raw materials to replace old products and the landfilling of waste have an impact on our climate. Paul Hawken says, if we succeed in increasing the percentage of waste that is recycled from 50% to 65% in the coming years, we could reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 2.77 gigatons. Furthermore, 71.1 billion dollars could be saved in this way over the next 30 years.
Sustainable packaging and waste
management systems are an asset
There are many companies that make the circular economy possible. These range from efficient waste management systems to companies involved in recycling itself. For example, the Norwegian Tomra is active in the development, production, sale and maintenance of recycling and sorting systems. Tomra is the market leader in machines for the efficient collection of used glass and plastic bottles ("empties"). In addition, it also offers advanced sorting machines that ensure that less food is wasted. Companies such as Waste Management, Biffa, Republic Services and Daiseki in turn are engaged in offering different types of waste management systems. They allow waste to be collected, transported and / or recycled efficiently. This avoids environmental problems and risks to public health. Finally, many companies are also involved in sustainable packaging. This way, food can be stored longer and has a lesser impact on the environment. The list of companies active in sustainable packaging includes Ball (aluminum packaging which is a more sustainable alternative to plastic), Smurfitt Kappa (cardboard), the Swedish BillerudKorsnäs (paper and cardboard packaging), the British DS Smith ( cardboard packaging), Mayr-Melnhof in Austria (cardboard) and Huhtamäki in Finland (packaging for food and drinks).