Global Recycling Industry
The Bureau of International Recycling estimates that the recycling sector employs more than 1.5 million people in the processing of million tons of commodities, with industry revenue topping in excess of $200 billion every year.
The global recycling sector is involved in the operation of recycling facilities that sort recyclable materials, separating them out from nonhazardous waste streams. Facilities also separate out combined materials like metals, plastics, paper and cans into separate categories. Regionally, governments are increasingly aware of the environmental importance of material separation and improved product design.
- Close to 45% of global stainless steel production comes from scrap metals, according to the Bureau of International Recycling. Similarly, of the 400 million tons of new paper produced each year, half of it comes from recycled board and paper.
- The global metal recycling industry has undergone extensive change due to the negative impact of the economic recession and changes in the world’s economy. Demand for metal and scrap metal rises in tandem with demand for cars, manufactured goods and construction. Urbanization in emerging countries is fuelling the metal recycling industry, reports Key Note.
- Illegal trade in stolen scrap metal is a current cause of concern in the UK regarding legislation. There are a rising number of reports of theft of church roofs being stripped for lead. Cross-border sales of scrap have the potential to become a delicate domain because of legislative measures to limit illegal trade, the pollutants in scrap that make it dangerous to handle, and the limited recycling capacity of other economies.
- The carpet recycling sector will continue to expand in Europe thanks to corporate efforts to respect reuse, recovery and recycling quotas set out in the EU's Waste Framework Directive for 2020. In an effort to limit climate change and boost resource efficiency gains, material sorting requirements and landfill bans will become increasingly popular, reports Textiles Intelligence. A quarter of carpet waste will be diverted to landfill by 2015 to an association established in 2008 to deal with the recycling of floor coverings. There is an emphasis on limiting carpet waste going to landfill from top companies such as Penthouse Carpets, Filature Miroglio, Greenback Recycling, Forbo Flooring Systems, Desso, Aquafil, Protomax and Sellers.
- The world beverage packaging market is expected to reach almost $119 billion by 2017, reports Global Industry Analysts. Market growth is fuelled by expansion in emerging markets, rising consumer income and developments in technology. Growing awareness as to the importance of environmental issues is fuelling consumers demand, and prompting a growing level of innovation in the beverage-packaging sector. Design, efficiency and materials are key aspects of particular importance.
- Packaging formats and the materials used for manufacturing are receiving greater attention due to growing environmental concerns. Companies are focusing on using materials that offer optimal function, lesser raw material and easy processing through environmentally friendly production equipment. Green products are increasingly popular among consumers eager to purchase biodegradable goods to limit environmental damage. The beverage packaging sector is witnessing several trends linked to cost-effective green packaging, widespread flexible packaging machinery used to further advanced container technologies, cost reduction and carbon footprint minimization.
In coming years, waste management is expected to follow the extended product stewardship management model. There are, however, certain obstacles to be dealt with, including the current lack of market development and downstream auditing as well as the need to opt for local preference and to facilitate additional recycling.
Legislative measures will continue to put the onus on companies to provide recycling options for the goods they sell. Mandatory recycling laws in cities across the US (including San Francisco and San Diego) and New York’s Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling Act, should prompt stores to take back plastic products for recycling. Many leading retail stores operate trade-in schemes like Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Vodafone. Other retail outfits should follow suit to play an active role in recycling.
In addition, the market is expected to become increasingly concentrated moving forward, with greater volumes of recyclables being collected and processed by smaller number of industry players. Mergers and acquisitions will contribute to the trend toward fewer and fewer recycling companies.
Leading Industry Associations