- A world without waste can only exist if products and materials are fully recycled.
- Veolia in Vroomshoop processes used plastic into new raw material.
- The underlying objective is a circular economy, in which plastic is constantly being reused.
The company, which was taken over by the French environmental company Veolia a few years ago, has been around for fifty years. Gerrit Klein Nagelvoort, Business Development Manager at Veolia in Vroomshoop, is full of love about the product Veolia is developing; “Plastic recyclate”: plastic granules made from plastic waste that are suitable for making new products. “Plastic is an indispensable raw material”, says Klein Nagelvoort. “imagine going back to glass bottles, or cars being twice as heavy. That is not feasible. However, we must reuse plastic as much as possible. Surely, such a valuable material should not belong in the incinerator or landfill sites.” And yet it still happens way too often, also in Europe. In 2016, 31 per cent of consumer waste in Europe was recycled, 42 per cent was burnt in power plants, and 27 per cent ended up in a landfill. “Veolia wants to get plastic recycling to 100 per cent, and realise a circular economy.”
Reusing waste by turning it into new products. It is no longer just a job for Klein Nagelvoort, but a way of life. Philips vacuums are a well-known example. In addition, the compounds are used for household items, garden furniture, drainage systems, elements under the hood of a car and, for example, cans of paint. The plastic crates for good water management under the turf of the English top club Liverpool FC are also made by Veolia from Vroomshoop.
Waste recycling has become big business. “You notice that the consumer’s mindset has changed. We used to throw away all waste. Now we are increasingly aware of how that hurts the environment. Thanks to our innovative techniques, we sustainably use plastic.” Klein Nagelvoort is surprised that recycled plastic is still not considered as a beautiful raw material. Moreover, the CO2 emissions from recycled plastic are only half that of “virgin” plastic, new plastic made from petroleum, according to a report from CE Delft.
“Our product has a huge environmental benefit and reduces CO2 emissions. In addition, the quality of the end product is very clear. The demand for secondary raw materials is constantly increasing, and more and more companies are seeing the benefits of our compounds. In this way, they also contribute directly to the environmental objectives of their organisation. There should be a legal obligation to make all products from recycled material, as long as it is possible. That is the only way to become completely circular.
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