Posts with term Suez X

Suez and TerraCycle join forces

Suez is partnering with TerraCycle and acquiring 30 percent of its activities in Europe to develop collection and recycling programs in Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden. The partnership brings together TerraCycle’s collection programs and SUEZ’s expertise in waste recycling and recovery. It will offer individuals, businesses and municipalities new solutions for recycling waste that was previously not recyclable in order to transform it into new secondary resources. TerraCycle is a company that develops selective collection systems for the recycling of more than 100 specific hard-to-recycle waste streams currently not handled by traditional recycling channels.

Safety from Volatility: How SUEZ Is Future-Proofing by Investing in Regenerative Waste Management

One of the largest waste management companies in North America is disinvesting in recycling. Waste Management CEO David Steiner recently went on to discuss the company’s current business spend, which went from 12 percent five years ago down to 8 percent now. Citing low oil prices as the culprit behind the driving down of prices for fiber and plastics on back-end channels, Steiner argues that in order for recycling to be profitable again, "you either need to draw down the processing cost or you need to drive up the price on the back-end," a position he held early last year. If the value of an item cannot be sold for more than the cost of collection, logistics and processing, there is no economic incentive to recycle it because there is no potential for profit. To begin with, most of the product and packaging waste created today is considered unrecyclable by this economic limitation. That items that have so long been top of mind as profitable commodities (plastic, paper and certain metals, for example) are diminishing in market value is reason for waste management companies and municipal recycling facilities to disinvest in recycling and view landfilling and incineration as cost-effective alternatives to more regenerative solutions. But where major U.S. waste management companies are pulling resources from recycling processes at a time when Americans still only recycle about 34 percent of their trash, European waste management companies such as SUEZ are putting them forward. SUEZ, a French waste management company, recently partnered with my company, TerraCycle, to bring our consumer-facing program structures to its customers in France, the UK, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden. Globally, TerraCycle currently recycles more than 100 specific “unrecyclable” waste streams (disposable items, flexible packaging, office supplies, beauty products, oral care, used coffee capsules and cigarette butts, to name a few) through free recycling programs and custom recycling solutions. SUEZ purchased a 30 percent stake in TerraCycle’s activities in Europe, enabling SUEZ to expand its services and add value for its customers using our platforms. In this collaboration, TerraCycle gains access to perhaps the world’s largest sales force dedicated to the circular economy, and SUEZ sets an example for global environmental stewardship while keeping its eye on the prize: long-term relevance and profitability. For the European waste management company, diversifying offerings from waste recovery to the recycling business has been a priority in recent years, as evidenced by its published reports highlighting Europe’s recycling challenges, contracts for the development of waste and recycling facilities, and project-based recycling efforts for difficult-to-recycle waste. By investing in recycling, SUEZ scales for efficiency and growth by showing leadership in materials recovery and resource management, conducting its business around building a stable, circular infrastructure, rather than allowing its actions to be dictated by the current price of oil. From a business angle, there is critical need for more circular systems of manufacturing and consumption as sheer market demand and resource scarcity put a strain on virgin materials, which are resigned to single-use lives and are volatile in price. We are expected to integrate an additional three billion middle-class consumers into the global market by 2030, and commodity prices rose more than 150 percent between 2002 and 2010. TerraCycle has yet to partake in a stake partnership with a U.S. waste management company of any size. In Europe, SUEZ accommodates an increasing demand for recycling options by offering to expand its services, creating value for consumers and easing costs for suppliers. Some of the biggest consumer product companies in the world are also now investing in recycling, securing supply chains and generating jobs. Future efforts to strengthen our recycling infrastructure and to sustainably develop for future generations are inevitable, and organizations who invest today only stand to make a return.

We can recycle everything we use, including cigarette butts and toothbrushes. So why don’t we?

Within the broad range of sustainability concepts and activities, recycling is without doubt the most easily understood and accessible: individuals and groups, old and young, communities and institutions can participate. When we buy a candy bar, we own the wrapper after the short life of the product; doing something with that branded possession, rather than adding to waste, feels good. Recycling is empowering to consumers and, in the case of traditionally recyclable materials such as glass, paper, rigid plastics and certain metals, economically viable. Recycling not only diverts potentially valuable materials from landfills and incinerators, it also offsets demand for virgin materials, helping to keep carbon in the ground. Recycling aligns human consumption with nature’s activities. But as human-generated waste streams continue to evolve in diversity and volume, the global community faces the mounting challenge of developing viable recycling and waste management solutions at a comparable pace. For example, electronic waste is currently the fastest growing solid waste stream, increasing two to three times faster than other waste streams. More broadly, industrial activities currently generate nearly 7.6 billion tons of solid waste in the US each year - that’s 3000% of the total municipal waste generated by Americans annually. As the world enters the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the ecological implications of not prioritizing sustainable resource management are dire. Economics, not high science, is what determines recyclability: a material is recycled only if one can make money collecting, sorting and recycling it. The environmental and health costs associated with trash are not currently included in the equations. These costs are considered externalities: society as a whole, rather than the manufacturer, retailer or consumer, absorbs those longer-term costs. Since the costs of not recycling are excluded from the value equation, linear disposal methods, such as land-filling and incineration, are the principle waste management options for most post-consumer waste streams. These linear solutions have come to haunt us: islands of plastic in the Pacific have begun to disintegrate, fish are eating the micro particles and humans eat the fish. Only by emulating nature and implementing the circular economy can humans arrest and, in time, reverse this vicious cycle. It is unlikely that manufacturers, retailers or consumers will voluntarily take responsibility for the end-life of their waste unless they are required to bear the cost of solutions for the products and packaging they produce, sell or consume. With varying degrees of success, governments across the world are implementing producer responsibility schemes; most of these, including the well known Green Dot programme in Germany, finance the collection of packaging, with much of the waste being incinerated - not much better than land-filling from an environmental perspective. Recycling is the more expensive option, but as the late, great eco-capitalist Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, posted on the side of her company’s trucks said: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” With evident limitations on what governments can or will realistically do, the impetus falls on the private sector. How can we find ways to provide incentives to cover the costs of collecting and recycling? For the past decade, my company TerraCycle has developed technologies to apply to difficult-to-recycle post-consumer waste streams that usually end up in the trash. Examples are cigarette butts, pens, water filters, used toothbrushes and toothbrush tubes, packaging waste, industrial adhesive containers and even dirty diapers, which have been processed into materials that are used to manufacture new products. Our R&D team is extremely innovative, but our true innovation is finding reasons for brands and manufacturers to justify paying for recycling when they don’t have to. We have found that recycling has become a sufficient priority for consumers, who patronize brands that enable the recyclability of their products and packaging. We have created business models allowing brands to see that incremental spending on recycling will produce incremental ROI; as a result, many waste streams that were previously unrecyclable are now being recycled. To achieve scale and generate efficiencies, we recently partnered with SUEZ, one of the largest waste management companies in the world. Through the deal, SUEZ can bring TerraCycle’s consumer-facing programmes to its customers in France, the UK, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden, and we gain access to perhaps the world’s largest sales force dedicated to the circular economy. Recyclability is among the top purchase drivers for a range of consumer products and consumers around the world today have demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium for sustainable goods and services. We’ve demonstrated that sponsoring recycling can be a pathway to migrate a company’s post-consumer products and packaging from the linear economy to circular economy. While I’m proud of our accomplishments, there remains a huge values-action disparity, or “green-gap,” where changes in consumer attitudes have not yet translated to changes in action. Recycling rates have stagnated in the last decade in relation to the volume of waste produced globally, and while many countries in the developing world work without a formal recycling system, the US still only recycles about 34% of its trash. Recycling almost everything we use is already possible. Consumer buying power, with the right social and political commitments, can drive demand for comprehensive recycling solutions at multiple levels. The scale of the world’s waste problem mandates that everyone in the consumption cycle act together to work towards regenerative, circular solutions that bridge the gap to zero waste.