Corporations learning the real value of materials recycling

Reduce-Reuse-RecycleLarge corporations are beginning to get that recycling – the 2nd of the “3 R’s” – can really pay back. With the launch of the new National Materials Marketplace, more than 20 companies with U.S.-based operations are avoiding waste by turning it into raw materials for other companies’ use.

Led by the Corporate Eco Forum, the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the new joint pilot project will operate through an online database.

“The Materials Marketplace project is a key step towards the shift to a circular economy – one where waste becomes the new engine for creating value,” says Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the WBCSD.

“This opens up new business opportunities while creating economic, environmental, and societal benefits,” said Andrew Mangan, Executive Director of U.S. BCSD.

Waste materials like this that could be re- or upcycled and create big savings for companies

Waste materials like this that could be re- or upcycled and create big savings for companies

Some of the participating companies include: 3M; Armstrong World Industries; CH2M Hill; Eastman Chemical; Essroc – Italcementi Group; Holcim-Geocycle; Fairmount Santrol; General Motors; Nike; Novelis – Aditya Birla Group; The Dow Chemical; Tetra Pak Inc.; Swisstrax; and Systech.

The benefits of matching material and by-product waste streams with opportunities for reuse are huge opportunities.

General Motors, for example, has generated nearly $1 billion in annual revenue through reusing and recycling its by-products. By tapping into reuse and recycling options for this material, GM avoided over 10 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions in 2014.

“Material management is a business opportunity, not just a cost-reduction strategy,” said John Bradburn, GM’s Global Manager of Waste Reduction.

By joining the pilot, participating businesses benefit from lower operational costs due to cheaper feedstock and reduced waste disposal costs.

Could the National Materials Marketplace help dramatically reduce landfill waste?

Could the National Materials Marketplace help dramatically reduce landfill waste?

Participants of this innovative pilot program achieve a reduced carbon footprint owing to major cuts in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and a reduced environmental footprint by avoiding waste disposal and raw material purchase.

Other benefits include enhanced social and economic impact and an improved corporate reputation

Lessons learned from this pilot project will be used to scale up materials reuse projects worldwide through the WBCSD’s Global Network of national business councils. This exciting program is one to keep a sharp eye on with huge potential for corporations to realize both huge monetary savings and to build green cache with their customers. Now THAT”S a real win-win.

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