The consequences of global warming are becoming clearer by the week, and policymakers, researchers and entrepreneurs are debating the appropriate types of climate action. What can and should we do to achieve the climate goals we have set? At the same time, how can we make Europe’s high living standards and successful economies sustainable? One of the answers to this is the systematic recycling of materials. The circular economy has already become a key driver of climate change mitigation.

This is clearly demonstrated by the work of the leading European circular service provider Interzero. As evidenced by the “Resources saved by recycling” study published today, the company and its customers managed a total of 2.1 million tonnes of material in the loop in 2022. This resulted in the prevention of around 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to annual carbon emissions from heat and electricity for more than 100,000 households of four. At the same time, around 8.7 million tons of primary resources were saved that did not need to be taken from the natural world.


“In the current climate action debate, more emphasis needs to be placed on managing raw materials in the loop,” says Sebastiaan Krol, CEO of Interzero Circular Solutions. “Our study aims to show that recycling is an effective and necessary instrument for reducing climate-damaging emissions, protecting valuable resources and therefore curbing the overexploitation of our natural environment. We need a transformation to a true closed-loop economy to maintain the quality of life on our planet. Today, it is the most important joint task we face.”


Interzero also uses the study data to provide its clients with an individual certificate of their annual environmental performance. As one example, Sopro Bauchemie GmbH worked with Interzer to reduce the consumption of primary resources and greenhouse gas emissions by several thousand tons. As an integrated consulting partner for circular services, Interzero helps this customer by taking back and recycling paper, plastic and tin transport packaging.


Michael Hecker, Managing Director of Sopro Bauchemie GmbH: “The ‘Resources SAVED’ certificate confirms the environmental benefit of our partnership with Interzer and shows that we are on the right track together.”


Since 2008 Interzero uses the scientific study ‘resources SAVED by recycling’ to report on the overall positive impact of recycling on the environment. This comprehensive life cycle assessment report – produced by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT – is based on a detailed comparison of primary production and recycling, including all necessary process steps. A standardized methodology provides a means to accurately quantify resource and greenhouse gas savings.


“Now in its fifteenth year, this study makes the environmental benefits of recycling tangible and understandable. Looking to the future, this will be increasingly important to raise awareness of climate measures and the sustainable handling of our raw materials among companies and consumers,” comments Dr. Markus Hiebel, Head of Sustainability and Participation at Fraunhofer UMSICHT.


Fraunhofer UMSICHT data is also an essential part of the resource protection campaign “One World. Zero Waste. Let’s #MoveTheDate’, launched by Interzero together with the Global Footprint Network (GFN). According to recent calculations by GFN, the global Earth Day 2023 overshoot. it would have occurred 7 minutes and 16 seconds earlier had it not been for the recycling activities completed by Interzero and its customers.


In recognition of its deep engagement and successful completion of specific projects related to waste prevention and recycling, Interzero has been nominated for the German Sustainability Award 2024. The company is among the finalists in the waste management and recycling category.