‘Greater recycling’ can help climate impact of Ukraine war

The Global Recycling Foundation has said the threat to fuel supplies from Russia with the war in Ukraine means a “rethink on net zero is inevitable”. As a result, it says it is now “essential we put greater effort into recycling”.

A scrap metal facility in Odessa, Ukraine (picture: Shutterstock)

In a statement this afternoon the founder of the foundation, Ranjit Baxi, said net zero targets are “under threat” from the war, and said recycling can help mitigate emissions as western governments seek fuel alternatives.

Mr Baxi explained: “Governments are now being forced to re-evaluate the potential of fracking, digging for coal and oil exploration which will threaten net zero promises made at COP 26. Power supplies must be maintained, but that puts greater pressure on the search for sustainable alternatives.

“It is now essential that we put greater effort into using waste to energy and recycling to mitigate what will inevitably be a spike in emissions if we want to prevent further climate change”.

The Global Recycling Foundation founder, Ranjit Baxhi


The war in Ukraine will have little direct impact on recyclers except for those who export material there, which includes some textile recyclers. Demand for second hand clothes in Eastern Europe is large but demand has been falling for a number of years.

In Ukraine, the trade of second hand clothing with the UK has been affected by political instability within the region. Traditionally much of the material sent to the country also goes onwards to Russia, which has been limited in recent years due to the heightened political tensions between the two nations.

Indirectly however, waste management companies and local authorities across Europe will be impacted by rising fuel prices in particular.

We must make better use of readily available resources

  • Ranjit Baxi, Global Recycling Foundation


Mr Baxi added: “While the whole of Europe faces up to severe disruption in oil and gas supplies and rising prices, we must make better use of readily available resources, and nothing is more readily available than the growing waste stream. Looking ahead, we need to accelerate investment and research over the next five years into green hydrogen which is generated entirely by renewable energy.”

UPDATED 10/03 at 16:40 to reflect that the statement was published by the Global Recycling Foundation, not the Bureau of International Recycling, as previously stated.

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