News | November 13, 2017

SUEZ Gives Plastic A New Life By Encouraging People To Collect With RECO Solutions

In order to support society in the necessary changes towards recycling waste, SUEZ designs and implements new solutions to speed up the collection and recovery of plastic. The Group is developing and diversifying the RECO offer. This innovative and incentivised collection system encourages eco-citizens to take action for optimal recovery.

In Europe today, the amount of plastic produced is 50 times greater than it was 50 years ago, and the figure just keeps rising, currently standing at 50 million tonnes per year. Europe produces 25 million tonnes of plastic waste, only a quarter of it is recycled. Meanwhile, the oceans are threatened by unprecedented levels of pollution.

Due to an increasing scarcity of resources and climate change, giving plastics a second life is a virtuous example of circular economy. Producing one tonne of recycled plastic saves five barrels of petroleum, the equivalent of 1.6 tonnes of CO2 and up to 90% of energy compared to producing one tonne of virgin plastic.

SUEZ, a key player in plastic recycling with nine specialist factories in Europe, processes over 400,000 tonnes of plastic each year across the continent1 and already produces 150,000 tonnes of recycled polymers. The Group is today innovating by increasing its intake. It has set an objective of increasing its processing capacity by 50%, to over 600,000 tonnes, by 2020.

Shopping vouchers to encourage recycling at the source

In France, the 100 RECO kiosks - set up in partnership with major retailers, supported by the eco-organisation Citeo and the industrial Nestlé Waters - encourage people to sort. Each bottle deposited (water, milk, detergent, shampoo, etc.) entitles consumers to a shopping voucher with a value of 1 to 2 euro cents. They can be redeemed at the partner company or with a group of local traders. 

The collected bottles are then sent to a processing and recovery centre to be transformed into secondary polymers which are used to produce new similar products (bottles, food packaging, textiles, etc.). 

Over 125 million plastic bottles have been fully recovered this way since 2014. Seven thousand eco-citizens visit these kiosks every day. Encouraged by this success, SUEZ is going further with a complete range of solutions designed to be user-friendly. These include the RecyclingBox for small spaces and the RecyclingVan mobile solution which is ideal for large events (festivals, sporting events, etc.), leisure areas or events organised by municipalities and companies.

1 On the basis of an average sorting refusal of 25%, incoming tonnes in the group's plastic sorting centers will therefore increase from 530,000 to 800,000 tonnes between 2016 and 2020.