SITA remains carbon-neutral with circular economy approach
The circular economy model adopted by recycling and waste management company SITA kept the firm carbon-neutral in 2013, despite emitting 578,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
According to the firm's new sustainability report, C02 emissions were offset by the 855,000 Mwh of electricity generated from energy recovery schemes.
More than 500,000 Mwh of electricity was generated by the landfill gas process, where methane from landfill sites is captured and converted. Another 341,000 Mwh was produced through incinerating waste instead of fossil fuels to power steam turbines.
"Recovering energy from waste can benefit the environment, reduce carbon emissions, reduce reliance on finite resources and provide economic opportunities," said the report.
SITA also recycled 62% of the 8.7 million tonnes of waste it handled in 2013; well ahead of the EU target of 50% recycling for household waste.
Symptomatic of SITA's approach is the company's Shred to Tissue initiative which shreds confidential documents then processes them into tissue paper.
"The scheme exemplifies the circular economy in its simplest terms," the report added. "It takes something considered as end-of-life waste and turns it into a useful new product."
Despite the firm's own successes, SITA chief executive David Palmer-Jones recently wrote in an edie blog that government intervention in the market was needed to incentivise a circular economy.
"A recent UN Global Compact survey of 1000 leading CEOs found that, many had taken their companies as far as they could [on sustainability], given the structures, incentives and demands of the market," wrote Palmer-Jones.
"Their greatest problem was the lack of a link between sustainability and business value. The market was still heavily tilted in favour of the linear economy, giving companies with a linear business model a competitive edge."
In August, SITA agreed a deal to transform large landfill sites into solar power farms, generating energy for the National Grid. Read more here.