The three waste-management Rs have been commonly labeled as the pillars of sustainable development. However, to transform our economies from linear to circular, words must be turned into measurable actions, spearheaded by every player in the plastics industry. As one of Europe’s leading players, we are proud not only to meet the European sustainability targets but also to go above and beyond them.
Thanks to a combination of clearly set sustainable development goals at the corporate level and the genuine commitment and innovative capacity of our local teams, Pipelife has been setting the bar high for its peers when it comes to environmental responsibility.
"It's our duty to provide piping solutions that actively contribute to a safer and healthier planet. We won't get a second chance with the environment, so we hope that with our goals, we can set an industry example and make our world a better place to live by reducing overall environmental risk," maintains Pipelife International Head of Research and Development and Sustainability, Zoran Davidovski.
Currently, less than 30% of Europe's plastic waste is collected for recycling. While new sorting approaches and technologies are raising the availability of good quality recycled materials, the bias regarding the properties of products made from recycled plastics is still present.
The EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy envisions recycling 55% of plastic packaging waste by 2030. Our R&D teams have been extensively studying and testing how to increase the use of recycled materials in manufacturing while maintaining the high quality that customers are expecting from Pipelife.
"It is still widely believed that recycled materials have unfavorable or inferior properties, but we can prove that this misconception is no longer valid," asserts Hielke Hoextra, Application Development Manager of Pipelife, "You can have highly reliable products made from recycled plastics. Of course, you need to test such materials very carefully, but it is possible to do that."
Over the past eight years, Pipelife has doubled the use of recycled materials in production, reaching 117.8 kilograms per ton in 2022. With several more products made from recycled materials currently in the pipeline, the number is expected to grow even further in the future.
Just a year ago, Pipelife reached the target of 90% of our products being recyclable and/or reusable. Today, we are proud that the figure has reached 99% of all our products. By 2023, all new Pipelife products will be 100% recyclable or reusable.
Up to 80% of the environmental impact of products is determined in the design phase. It is, therefore, crucial for plastics manufacturers to plan for a sustainable life cycle for all products right from the start. By supplying top-quality products with an estimated service life ranging from 50 to 100 years, Pipelife saves resources, minimizes emissions and reduces plastics in landfills.
Apart from continuously increasing the quality and service life of its products, Pipelife has been also introducing systems that help minimize waste in other key industries, taking a step further when it comes to waste reduction.
Over the past decades, plastics have been largely seen as a single-use commodity, with around 26 million tons of plastic waste generated in Europe each year. Nowadays, we have the technologies and the knowledge to step by step turn a circular plastics economy into reality. To make a greater impact, all players in the plastics industry need to come together and work toward meeting the goals set at the European level.
“By embedding the principles of the circular economy in our value chain, Pipelife preserves resources, minimizes waste and reduces CO2 emissions, supporting the goals of the European Green Deal. Close cooperation between the actors, high production standards, clear sustainability targets and tangible actions have contributed to our solutions’ success while raising the awareness of both the potential and the possibilities that a circular plastics economy can offer,” summarizes Harald Schwarzmayr, COO Wienerberger AG, Region West.
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