Packaging collection has a positive environmental impact above all because the recycling of packaging made of paper, glass, light-weight materials (mainly plastic), metal, and wood reduces carbon emissions, and because the use of packaging waste as secondary fuel helps save coal, fuel oil, coke, and natural gas. These beneficial effects are to some extent offset, for instance by the carbon emissions of waste collection vehicles (around 30,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents).
The external impact of ARA’s business activities in 2014 was calculated using a detailed life cycle assessment model covering all packaging materials. The results were evaluated by the Environment Agency Austria and the Vienna University of Technology. The model takes into account the positive impact (carbon savings) of secondary raw material production and fuel substitution, as well as the negative impact (carbon emissions) of the separate collection schemes and the direct carbon emissions of the recovery process. On balance, ARA helped save 670,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 2014 (2013: around 650,000 tonnes). These carbon savings are equivalent to 7 % of the annual emissions caused by all passenger cars registered in Austria.
This means that our packaging compliance service is not only climate-neutral – the collection and recovery of packaging contributes to protecting the environment. To raise awareness of this fact among our customers, we have awarded climate certificates since 2009 to recognise responsible companies that make an active contribution to climate protection by using ARA AG’s packaging compliance service.