11 November 2020 by James Langley

TOMRA calls for ‘holistic’ approach to tackle emissions

TOMRA says it has “invested heavily” in its circular economy division as it looks to drive a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the waste management sector by 2030.

It has done so as research commissioned by the Norwegian equipment manufacturer and carried out by environmental consultancy Eunomia found that the better implementation of current waste management arrangements could reduce global CO2 emissions by up to 5%.

Dr Volker Rehrmann is TOMRA’s head of circular economy

Within its circular economy division, TOMRA has placed an emphasis on “well-designed holistic waste management solutions” as the means by which the sector can cut its emissions.

Dr Volker Rehrmann, TOMRA’s head of circular economy, told a webinar this morning (11 November): “There is a need to act now, and that’s why we at TOMRA have decided to invest in a green future with the establishment of our new circular economy division.

“Within this division we’ll focus on holistic systems solutions that go well beyond our typical product focus, so we’re not only selling a product, we’re really trying to develop solutions that are holistic and are thought through from A-Z.

“These holistic systems solutions have the potential to reduce global CO2 emissions by a significant amount, by up to two billion tonnes.”

Value chain

Dr Rehrmann said TOMRA was now working with various partners in the value chain who had never been its customers, including chemical companies, producers of virgin plastic and brands. He said TOMRA would try and convince them to use more recycled materials in their products.

“Holistic systems solutions have the potential to reduce global CO2 emissions by a significant amount”

Dr Volker Rehrmann

The company has invited industry representatives, legislative bodies, start-ups, schools, universities and consumers to join its ReSociety initiative. This is described as a “a gathering point for circular mindsets to align, share learnings, co-create solutions and spark new innovations”.

Dr Rehrmann said the circular economy division’s initial focus would be on plastic packaging. TOMRA has committed to working towards ensuring 40% of post-consumer plastic packaging is collected for recycling globally by 2030, and to achieving the closed loop recycling of 30% of postconsumer plastic packaging by the same date.

Resource Recovery Playbook

Eunomia’s chairman Dr Dominic Hogg was also present at the webinar, and he spoke about ‘Resource Recovery Playbook’, a report jointly developed by Future Management Group, TOMRA and Eunomia.

Dr Dominic Hogg is Eunomia’s chairman

Dr Hogg highlighted that a report commissioned by TOMRA identified that 2.02 billion tonnes of global municipal waste was generated in 2016, equivalent to 10,000 Empire State Buildings. Eunomia claims better collection and recycling systems could lead to annual greenhouse gas emissions savings of up to 2.5 billion tons.

“By ensuring that we’re managing waste better, that we’re keeping materials within the cycle of productive use, through better recycling of those materials and better managing of all the waste materials that are out there, we can actually contribute significantly to this massive global problem of climate change,” he said. “At the same time, because we’ve got to collect this waste in the first place, we’ll actually have dealt with to a substantial degree the massive problem of ocean plastics.”

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