TOMRA Circular Economy Conference focused on collaboration to "Close the Loop on Plastics"
Targeted collection is the first step towards high quality recycling of plastics
According to calculations by the World Bank, approximately two-thirds of household waste is still incinerated or landfilled. Held October 5-6, 2021, and drawing nearly 300 participants in person and online, TOMRA's 4th global conference saw industry leaders joining 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 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, Germany. Conference participants witnessed how post-consumer plastic packaging is sorted from household waste, safeguarding recyclable materials from being lost to incineration. The plant directly processes the plastics into high-quality recycled material 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 presorting of waste determines the recycling result," explained Tove Andersen, the new President and CEO of TOMRA, during the two-day "Closing the Loop on Plastic" conference in Frankfurt. "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 (3.04 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 the collection of as much recyclable material as possible and 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, according to the company.