Every April since 1970, Earth Day reminds people of the need to find a way out of negative trends that threaten our environment, such as overexploitation of natural resources, drastic reductions in biodiversity, and the massive increase in non-recycled waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Rondo Hullámkartongyártó (‘Corrugated Cardboard Manufacturing’) Ltd. believes that the key to our future lies in recycling: by making recycled paper raw material, we can save up to 75% of water and more than 50% of energy.
A press statement by the company says that it is now a moral obligation for companies to design the lifecycle of their products in line with the principles of the circular economy model, so that their useful life can be extended and their materials can be recycled or reused to reintroduce them back into the cycle.
Unfortunately, according to the Circularity Gap Report, the world is still far from truly sustainable: only 8.6% of the roughly 100 billion tons of global material use per year was recycled back into the economic cycle last year, but the good news is that more and more companies are recognizing the benefits of this shift. According to a Kearney research of 150 firms, 70% of companies that have switched to the circular economy model believe their products have become better known, 50% say they have more engaged customers and nearly a third report increased revenues. It is therefore clear that the public is also making more environmentally conscious choices.
This is confirmed by the Every Can Counts movement's representative survey of 14 European countries, which shows that 91% of respondents want to do more to protect the environment as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic. Two thirds of respondents believe that recycling is a must for everyone and more than three quarters always or often collect waste separately.
The commitment of Hungarian respondents is even stronger than average, with 95% of them wanting to be more active when it comes to recycling. Despite this, however, two thirds of beverage cartons still end up in municipal waste bins (Beverage Carton Association Survey 2020), even though the recycling rate for paper and corrugated packaging in the European Union has reached 85.8% in recent years.
Due to curfew restrictions related to the coronavirus epidemic and regular working from home, e-commerce has seen a significant increase in sales over the past year. And with the dramatic increase in online sales, even more packaging waste is being generated, as illustrated by the accumulation of delivery boxes in households. In the United States, for example, the number of deliveries packed in corrugated boxes increased by 9% in 2020 compared to March 2019.
In Hungary, similar trends can be seen during the pandemic: in spring 2020, Rondo, a Hungarian manufacturer of sustainable products, was working three shifts a day, seven days a week and at maximum capacity to meet customer demand.
"The above-mentioned research shows that the role of the circular economy has become even more important since the outbreak of the pandemic. However, in addition to optimal product design, it is also important to stress that this can only be achieved by using renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources. At Rondo, the circular economy approach is an important part of the company's philosophy and our everyday life, which is why the share of recycled paper in the total production of our factory reaches 70%," Rondo Managing Director Zsolt Miklós said.
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