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Prevention of CO2 due to plastic recycling

23,000 times around the world - 76,000 tons of plastic recyclates avoid 166,000 tons of CO2 per year

20.06.2014

Niedergebra/Bernburg, 20th June 2014 - Each ton of recycled plastic, which is used instead of comparable virgin material avoids specificly between 1.45 and 3.22 tons of climate-relevant greenhouse gases in the form of CO2 equivalents. This is what researchers of the University of Magdeburg-Stendal calculated on behalf of the plastic recycling companies mtm plastics GmbH, Multiport GmbH and MultiPet GmbH.

For the first time, research has calculated emissions saved for the plastic recylcers for the most common plastics in the packaging recycling sector like PE/PP mixtures, PE HD and PET. Re-polyolefins of mtm plastics from Niedergebra save 2.19 tons, PE HD pellets of Multiport based in Bernburg save 1.45 tons and the PET flakes produced by the adjacent MultiPet save 3.22 tons of greenhouse gases per used ton of recyclate compared to primary material. Extrapolated to one year, this adds up to a considerable amount: recyclates sold of the three companies avoid together over 166,000 tons of greenhouse gases in the form of CO2 equivalents, because they are used instead of virgin material. This corresponds to the amount a medium-sized car* would emit if it circled the earth 23,000 times.

The results in detail: with about 27,000 tons of regranulates, which mtm plastics with its headquarters at Niedergebra produced from mixed plastic waste during the business year 2012/2013, mtm’s customers were able to avoid around 59,000 tons of CO2 equivalents in total.

With the PE HD re-pellets of Multiport at Bernburg, the savings in the business year 2013 amounted to more than 42,000 tons of CO2 equivalents with an output of around 29,000 tons rPE HD.

MultiPet, also located at Bernburg, by processing mainly beverage packs into around 20,000 tons of PET flakes, achieved about 65,000 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions avoided during the same period. In order to determine the potential savings, the researchers compared the production of recyclates from secondary raw material (post-consumer plastic waste, especially packaging) with the European average of the production of virgin material from primary raw materials. This ecological monitoring is based on the DIN EN ISO 14040/14044, and was carried out focussing on the calculation of the effect category of the climate change (Global Warming Potential). For this purpose all emissions with influence on the greenhouse effect were determined and converted in CO2 equivalents. In the future the results will be updated every year.

“Our customers help to avoid climate-relevant emissions to a considerable extent. In the future, we will confirm this with a certificate to every plastic processor, accordant to the amount of purchased raw material”, Michael Scriba, Managing Director of mtm and Herbert Snell, Managing Director of Multiport and MultiPet explain.

*) The supposed medium-sized car consumes 6.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres and thereby emits 0.18 kg of CO2 per kilometre