Today is World Recycling Day! While recycling is necessary every day, today is an excellent opportunity to highlight the importance of recognising that the future is circular and moving away from the traditional linear economy towards a more circular economy.
A linear economy of consumption and production is one where goods are thrown away after use and replaced by new ones. This model relies on extracting primary resources and fossil fuels to power production, generating GHG emissions. It is not sustainable as it seeks economic growth at the planet’s expense and finite resources. Within a linear model, goods are disposed of at end-of-life, wasting the raw materials and energy invested, which still have value.
Waste sent to landfill generates further environmental issues. Firstly, due to the space required to store waste, many times turning developing economies into garbage dumps for the industrialized world; secondly, by creating ecological problems due to waste decomposing and causing methane leaks.
In contrast, a circular economy looks beyond the ‘take-make-waste’ model, reducing extraction of resources and using waste to generate profit; using renewable energies and compensating emissions; and reusing or recycling products to create new value. Unlike a linear economy, a circular model tries redefining growth and waste patterns, focusing on the inherent value of raw materials and eliminating the dependency on extracting primary resources.
At Modulex, we focus heavily on cutting down our waste and using waste from other industries to create new products. As a part of this strategy, we recycle our manufacturing waste when it cannot be reused and constantly scout the market for recycled materials.
In 2021, 46% of all waste was recycled, 47% was incinerated to generate energy for public district heating, and 6% was sent to landfill. The total waste in 2021 was 6% lower than in 2020 and 34% lower than in 2019. Compared to business activity, every kilogram of waste generated 474 DKK in turnover in 2019, 555 DKK in 2020 and 677 DKK in 2021, showing a decline in waste as well in relation to sales.
Example of a ReBond sign.
Moreover, this year we finalized the ReBond pilot project, aimed at reusing textile waste from the carpet industry to generate signage solutions. This project elevated our commitment to offering products which support a circular economy. In this same path, we have Etronit and GreenBond™, two products unique to Modulex, made from recycled paper and wood waste.
In 2023, we will start offering 100% recycled acrylic as an alternative to virgin acrylics, one of the most popular materials within our industry. Through this, we will establish a take-back program to recycle acrylic products from our customers.
Offering recycled and recyclable materials in our assortment will allow us and our customers to decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills. We are committed to finding new ways to reduce waste levels and increase our recycling share.
Erik Sørensen Ruiz
Environmental and Partnership Manager