BENEFITS OF RECYCLING PLASTICS AND METALS
Here’s a summary of the main benefits of recycling plastics and metals:
- Energy saving: Production using recycled packaging represents an 84% energy saving in plastics, 95% in aluminum cans and 75% in steel cans, compared to the energy needed for production from virgin materials.
- Reduction in need for raw material: For every ton of recycled plastic containers around 1 ton of oil is saved. For every ton of recycled aluminum, you save 6 tons of bauxite (element from which aluminum is made)
- Savings in resources: All of the packaging recycled could supply the plastic manufacturing industry with almost 9% of the resources that it needs
- Improving air quality by reducing pollution: Aluminum recycling represents a reduction in emissions of 9.8 tons of CO2 and 64kg SO2
- Savings in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
- Less waste is sent to landfill or for incineration
Plastic and metal recycling saves a lot of energy, reduces the consumption of resources (oil) and GHG emissions as well as improving the air quality
For 1 ton of packaging, and every year we generate more:
- You save 1 ton of oil (from one ton of plastic packaging)
- From PET bottles there’s a net benefit in greenhouse gases of 1.5 tons of CO2 equivalent
- Recycling 1 ton of aluminum saves 6 tons of bauxite, 4 tons of chemical products and 14,000 kWh of electricity
- Recycling 1 aluminum can save enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours
- Recycling 1 PET plastic bottle saves enough energy to run a TV for 20 minutes
- Recycling 40 bottles of water (PET) can make a polar fleece
- Recycling 80 cans of soda can make a bicycle tire
Want to know more?
i The book Stop garbage. The truth about recycling, Alex Pascual, February 2019
► Packaging that leaves a mark “Envases que dejan huella,” Escarabajo verde program, RTVE (CAST)
i History of a can (CAST)
i Information about the DRS system (Deposit Refund System) (ENG /CAST)
i Plastics Europe web (ENG)
i The most common types of plastics (ENG)
. Annual report 2013 Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, Spanish Government. And alsoBureau of International Recycling
. Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, Spanish Government.
. Prevention and waste management general program, Catalonia 2013-2020
. Study on the recovery of aluminum, Arpal, (Association for aluminum products recycling), 2013
. “Life out of plastic”
. Metals – aluminium and steel recycling. en wasteonline.org.uk.
. “Why it’s a good idea to pay attention to the plastic you buy,” La Vanguardia 18 February 2016
. Ecoembes, Equivalence and data, www.ecoembes.es
Plastic picture by Mr.TinDC and cans picture by Ruth Hartnup