The Path to Drawdown: Recycling
Project Drawdown considers recycling as the recovery of recyclable post-consumer waste (like glass, plastic, metals, etc.) from the industrial and residential sectors of the economy. Recycling replaces the disposal of recyclable materials in landfills and mitigates the need to use virgin material for production.
Up to half of all waste comes from households, and in some high-income countries, more than 50% of that waste is recyclable material.
Household recycling can reduce emissions because producing new products from recovered materials often saves energy. For instance, forging recycled aluminum products requires 95% less energy than creating them from virgin materials.
Project Drawdown estimates that by 2050, a serious commitment to recycling can help avoid 6.02 gigatons of GHG emissions. To get there, recycling needs to be adopted much more widely that they are now:
- <::marker> In 2014, 27% of recyclable waste was recycled
- <::marker> By 2050, 68% of recyclable materials need to be recycled
- <::marker> That’s 2.6% CAGR between 2014 and 2050
If we can achieve that 68% recycling scenario, we can avoid up to 6.02 gigatons of GHG emissions.