One of the key solutions to addressing the factors contributing to the climate crisis is a transition to Circular Economy.
Converting to an approach relying on goods that naturally eliminate waste, circulate materials and regenerate nature can help to solve a number of interlinked environmental crises. This includes biodiversity loss and food waste and the over-extraction of natural resources.
We need to adapt and use the technology and knowledge at our disposal to build a better system. We need to move away from the unsustainable and linear ‘take, make and waste’ model. A model that has been at the heart of human production and consumption for generations.
Currently the extraction, production and end-of-life management of resources accounts for more than two-thirds of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. (Source)
Across the Genuit Group, our businesses are endeavouring to lead the plastics and construction products industry in recycling and waste management by becoming a zero-to-waste operation, to advance this transition to the Circular Economy.
We are a signatory of the Operation Clean Sweep initiative, led in the UK by the British Plastics Federation. We are committed to ensure that plastic pellets, flakes and powders that pass through manufacturing facilities in the UK are effectively stored and managed to prevent escape into waterways and the wider environment.
As part of our commitment to the transition to a circular economy, 46% of our processed polymer comes from recycled sources. But – our ambition is to reach 62% of tonnage from recycled plastics by 2025, as well as become a fully zero-to-landfill operation across all businesses in the group.
According to the Centre for International Environment Law, emissions from plastics production and incineration could account to 56 billion tons of carbon between now and 2050. This equates to between 10-13 percent of the entire remaining carbon budget identified by leading international expertise.
The role of manufacturers such as those found across the group should be to take single use and short-term use plastic products (such as bottles and packaging) to transform this resource into something with a useful carbon life of hundreds of years.
Turning otherwise wasted material back into a useful resource with higher societal value. This in turn reduces the amount of fresh material that needs to be manufactured to meet demand.
We are working with influential industry partners and trade organisations to help shape the regulatory agenda to enable more recycled product to be used in innovative ways.
The challenge is critical, but the opportunity is clear: by keeping plastic materials in a closed loop and enabling the plastic to stay at a high enough quality to be reused. This greatly reduces the need to produce new polymer material.
The environmental impact could be huge. Ensuring less raw material needs to be extracted means a potential 39% reduction in greenhouse gases.
It is also a responsible policy to ensure the future stability and prosperity of the construction sector and wider manufacturing.
The economy is seen as the ‘flywheel’ for positive change. And by harnessing the power of international economy and interlinked interests, we can strive to fix the climate.