Climate benefit of material recycling

Ragn-Sells’ conviction is that waste is a resource. By material recycling, circular solutions, innovations, and the right regulations we can reduce our own as well as our customers’ use of virgin materials and limit the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Enabling a shift from linear to a circular economy is essential for us as a responsible actor and for society as a whole. We work upstream and downstream to contribute to a more efficient utilisation of the earth's assets. Recycling worn-out products and waste into new raw materials is one of the most effective measures to reduce the climate impact since energy consumption is lower in the recycling of materials than in the extraction of new raw materials from nature.

When recycled raw materials can be used instead of virgin material, the manufacturing industry saves both energy and resources while contributing to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.  

During the year we have developed a model for calculating the CO2-savings that Ragn-Sells enable by recycling. These calculations refer to saved CO2 emissions due to the material being sent to recycling instead of to other waste treatments, such as destruction, landfill, or energy recovery when possible. 

The CO2 savings are expressed in both saved emissions of CO2 equivalents in absolute numbers and in CO2 per tonne recycled material and are based on differences in CO2 footprint from:

  • Virgin production of a material together with recycling of the same material.
  • Avoid emissions from burning fossil coal.
  • Biogenic CO2 in materials that act as carbon sink during material recycling.

The values on which the calculations are based come from reviewed academic documents, life cycle assessment, and EPD’s (Environmental Product Declarations).

This is an important part of reaching our goal of being climate positive. However, it is important to note that these results refer to the climate benefits obtained by the entire system of recycling. As Ragn-Sells is part of this system, we are helping to make this climate benefit possible. However, it is not correct to say that all these CO2 savings can be attributed to Ragn-Sells, as other players enable other parts of the chain.