Sustainability Report 2020

News & Stories

Use-Phase & End-of-Life

“Millions of people use our products every day and there is no doubt that they create added value. Nonetheless, we must at the same time realize that the end of life of products that we consume is not compatible with a more sustainable future.”

Ankit Aggarwal (Greiner AG) Life Cycle Assessment Manager

The global economy was only 8.6 percent circular in 2020, compared to 9.1 percent in 2018. This downward trend reflects high rates of resource extraction, high stockpiling, for example of infrastructure, buildings and machinery, and above all a linear economy. About 100 billion tonnes of resources were industrially processed worldwide in 2017. 32.6 billion tonnes were collected as waste. Most of this is lost, ends up in landfill or is incinerated. Just 8.65 billion tonnes of materials were recycled and fed back into a circular economy. But if global warming is to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius below pre-industrial levels, creating a circular economy is essential. We are still a long way away from this.

Circular economy
The circular economy is a model for production and consumption where existing materials and products are shared, reused, repaired, reprocessed and recycled for as long as possible. This prolongs the life cycle of products.
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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC defines this as the period between 1850 and 1900. This is the period used to calculate global warming up to the present day.
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