Imagine a resource being used over and over again, with little to no limitations. Thanks to science and technology – along with a hint of creativity – this idea isn’t mythical, it’s called closed-loop recycling. Let’s close the loop on what closed-loop recycling really means and how it benefits both businesses and the planet.
Closed-loop recycling is mainly focused on supply chain sustainability. It is a system in which a recyclable item that has reached the end of its life is reprocessed into a good-as-new product. This can be as simple as aluminum cans being recycled into new cans or plastic being reclaimed and used in the production of polyester clothing.
Consider the beverage cans on store shelves and in household refrigerators at this moment. Most have had many past lives—and will continue to live on—thanks to closed-loop recycling. Aluminum can recycling is a perfect candidate for the closed-loop recycling process since aluminum can be recycled to form new cans with little material degradation or waste creation.
Supply chain sustainability is the key focus of the closed-loop recycling process. Within a closed-loop system, products and their packaging are designed so that every bit of material can be salvaged or reconditioned into the same or similar type of product post-consumer use. By contrast, in an open-loop system, only a fraction of components is reused, which produces far more waste.
Closed-loop recycling is fit for products that maintain their quality during the recycling process, such as aluminum, glass and some plastics. It also helps reduce energy costs related to production. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Plastic recycling results in significant energy savings compared with production of new plastics using virgin material. Recycling plastic takes 88 percent less energy than making plastic from raw materials.”
There are also many benefits to companies looking to bolster their eco-friendly initiatives. To name a few, closed-loop recycling:
- Decreases pollution by producing little to no greenhouse gas emissions
- Preserves natural resources by reducing the use of virgin materials
- Saves space in landfills for non-recyclable materials
- Minimizes the risk of harm to wildlife
In order to effectively kickstart the closed-loop recycling process, it’s important for businesses to have properly marked and functional recycling containers available. This makes it easy for consumers to properly dispose of their recyclable items. Many Commercial Zone waste containers are customizable, allowing customers to add symbols and verbiage to create a clear message.
Closed-loop recycling not only makes a greater impact on businesses’ sustainability advantages, but it is also cost-effective. Commercial Zone fully backs the importance of recycling and encourages businesses and consumers to be eco-conscious while disposing of used products—and purchasing new ones.