Climate Benefits of Material Recycling

Inventory of Average Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Denmark, Norway and Sweden

image of Climate Benefits of Material Recycling

The purpose of this project is to compare emissions of greenhouse gases from material recycling with those from virgin material production, both from a material supply perspective and from a recycling system perspective. The method for estimating emissions and climate benefits is based on a review, followed by a selection, of the most relevant publications on life cycle assessment (LCA) of materials for use in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The proposed averages show that emissions from material recycling are lower in both perspectives, comparing either material supply or complete recycling systems. The results can be used by companies and industry associations in Denmark, Norway and Sweden to communicate the current climate benefits of material recycling in general. They may also contribute to discussions on a societal level, as long as their average and historic nature is recognised.



Further work

Given the results presented in this report and the limitations of this kind of study, there are several possibilities for further study concerning the environmental benefits of material recycling. When considering possible continuation it should be acknowledged that potential climate impact is only one of several environmental indicators, though one that has been given much attention in recent years. However, there are other issues that are important in relation to recycling systems, such as resource depletion, energy use, eutrophication and toxicity. The alternative paths are briefly described below.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error