No Sustainable Future Without Recycled Raw Materials

by | Sep 18, 2020 | Climate | 0 comments

Recycling Raw Materials is Sustainability

If we do not replace the extraction of natural resources with the use of recycled raw materials, we will never achieve the sustainability goals. Waste Norway has given its input to the government in the work on a new action plan.

New, National Action Plan

We only have ten years until we need to meet the sustainability goals. In order for Norway’s efforts to be as targeted as possible for the future, the government has decided to develop a national action plan.

The national action plan will be prepared as a report to the Storting (The Norwegian Parliament) to ensure broad support, the report will be completed during the spring of 2021.

During the development of the national action plan, the Norwegian government is hosting town-halls with, among others, civil society, business, academia and public enterprises. This week, Avfall Norge participated in a town-hall meeting for industry associations and labor organizations.

No Sustainable Future Without Recycled Raw Materials

Avfall Norge’s main message at the town-hall, chaired by Minister of Local Government Nikolai Astrup, was as follows:

Without replacing the extraction of natural resources with the use of recycled raw materials, we will not be able to prevent the devastation of climate change, or be able to ensure life on land and clean water for everyone. Our industry is therefore absolutely central in the work with reaching the sustainability goals by 2030.

Without replacing the extraction of natural resources with the use of recycled raw materials, we will not be able to prevent the devastation of climate change, or be able to ensure life on land and clean water for everyone. Our industry is therefore absolutely central in the work with reaching the sustainability goals by 2030.

At the same time, our ability to produce recycled raw materials has a close connection with sustainability goal number 12 on responsible consumption and production. Without responsible manufacturers who design for recycling, using recycled raw materials and labeling the products so that consumers can make qualified decisions in the store and sort properly at home, the circular economy will stop. We will miss out on new value creation, new green jobs and we will not be sustainable.

To ensure thriving life under water, we must also stop marine litter. The only lasting solution is through broad, national and international cooperation to stop the waste sources from land to continue to litter the ocean.

Can Contribute to Important Competitive Advantages

Avfall Norge also emphasized some of the most important things the action plan and the authorities can do is to help establish important connections – show how the whole cycle is connected.

By making connections visible, more decision-makers will be able to have a holistic perspective in everything from strategy work and planning to design, purchasing, production, logistics and marketing. Only then can we make sustainable choices that not only affect one’s own business, but society as a whole.

Clear connections will also form a useful backdrop that can provide important competitive advantages for forward-looking business players who compete against less sustainable and cheaper solutions.

Important challenges for the recycling industry.

The organizations were also asked to point out important challenges for their own sector. Here we emphasized 4 areas:

  1. The immature market for recycled raw materials with strong price competition against cheap, virgin raw materials.
  2. The need for new instruments that promote responsible consumption and production. Dirt in = dirt out – non-recycled raw materials. Need for new, national instruments, but also cooperation with the EU and participation in other international collaborations that regulate the production of the goods consumed in Norway.
  3. A more sustainable value chain is not necessarily economically profitable for the individual players in the short term, even though it is socio-economically profitable and can entail major competitive advantages in the long term.
  4. The fight against marine litter must be an international collaboration, but we must not forget to sweep in front our own door i.e. we need to do our work at home. Littering and illegal waste management are still ongoing and must be cracked down more severely. This also applies to the illegal export of waste.

β€œTo stop the devastation of climate change, reduce the pressure on land life and ensure clean water for all, we must reduce the extraction of natural resources in the world. Here, our industry plays a key role, because we are the ones who produce recycled raw materials that will replace the virgin raw materials. Without us, it is therefore not possible to reach the sustainability goals.” Ceclie Lund.

About Avfall Norge

Avfall Norge is a Norwegian waste management and recycling association leveraging 30 years of industry-specific knowledge to promote and develop socially responsible waste management policies in Norway and Europe