Waste

Global Recycling Day: from waste sorting to reducing CO2 emissions

Global Recycling Day waste sorting reducing CO2 emissions

Photo: Mali maeder from Pexels

Published

March 18, 2023

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Published:

March 18, 2023

Country:

,

Comments:

0

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Global Recycling Day is marked on March 18 to highlight the importance of reusing items and materials and resource efficiency. The recycling industry’s annual contribution to lowering carbon dioxide emissions is forecasted to reach one billion tons in 2030.

The United Nations acknowledged Global Recycling Day, Global Recycling Foundation recalled. It pointed out that adopting a global recycling approach is urgent.

Recycling helps preserve natural resources and it is key for the transition to circular economy.

This day is an opportunity to stress the need for improving the management not just of waste but of resources as well as recycling is important for both, said waste management expert Kristina Cvejanov from the Greenloop network.

“We have to be connecting with the system, to comprehend the flow of materials and the money flow as well as the possibilities we have to reduce our environmental footprint,” she told Balkan Green Energy News.

Cvejanov: It is necessary to understand to the fullest the processes and effects of our environmental impact

It is necessary to understand to the fullest the processes and effects of our environmental impact, according to Cvejanov. She added it is necessary for all the players to connect.

“The recycling day symbolizes exactly the basis for such success: it is joint work, it is cooperation. It is a day when the whole planet is thinking about recycling, when the media write about it, when citizens and companies conduct campaigns. It is a great contribution to raising awareness and connecting and networking among each other,” the expert underscored.

Sorting waste to lower CO2 emissions

In the recycling process, selection and separation are essential. Zagreb has introduced such a system for households and firms and swiftly achieved a significant change. In Croatia’s capital city, 80% of people sort waste.

Almost half of municipal waste in the European Union is recycled and composted while just under a third is used to make energy. Eurostat’s data show that around a quarter of municipal waste isn’t utilized and that it ends up in landfills while in Serbia the share is as high as 90%.

Every year 2.1 billion tons of solid waste is generated in the world, of which only 16% is recycled. Despite such a weak result, it saves over 700 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to Global Recycling Foundation. It estimated that the level would grow to one billion tons by the end of the decade.

Wind turbine recycling

About 90% of a wind turbine’s mass can be recycled. The machines are mostly made of steel and copper, which can be processed. However, blades are usually made of composite materials – plastics and a combination of carbon and glass fibers, for firmness. They mostly end up in landfills after the expiration of the wind turbine’s lifetime of 25 years on average.

But manufacturers have started making recyclable wind turbines. The first prototype, ZEBRA (Zero WastE Blade ReseArch), was produced last year from a thermoplastic resin reinforced with glass fiber.

Recyclable material is planet’s seventh resource

There are six primary resources: water, air, oil, natural gas, oil and minerals, but civilization is increasingly requiring the seventh one, recyclable material.

Resources are limited, and billions of tons of waste end up in landfills every year because of excessive and reckless consumption.

Humanity has spent more resources in the last 50 years than in all its previous history.

Over 50% of aluminum cans are currently recycled. Glass can be reused without losing quality. Every ton of recycled newspapers saves 17 trees. Around 1.6 million people work in industries that process materials, the foundation pointed out.

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