Circular Economy through Plastic Recycling in Romania


Carbon Avoidance


This project promotes the recycling of PET bottles and other plastic waste. The PET flakes and granulate obtained from the recycling process are reused, e.g., for packaging material or insulation in the construction sector. As a result, resources are saved and the burden on the climate is reduced.

Circular Economy through Plastic Recycling in Romania

In Europe, 29 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced each year; and this number continues to increase. Only 32 per cent of this is recycled, almost 40 per cent is burned to generate energy. A further quarter, that is over 7 million tonnes, ends up in landfill sites - precious resources, which can no longer be used and are hardly biodegradable. In 2018, the EU published the European Plastic Strategy. It addresses the problem of excess plastic across Europe: From 2030 on, all plastic packaging on the EU market must be recyclable. Likewise, a better, standardized system for segregation, collection and sorting of waste must be established. These new provisions should enable the EU member states to meet a recycling of 55% of plastic packaging waste by 2030.

However, a couple of South-Eastern European countries struggle with achieving this goal. The recycling rate for plastic and other synthetic materials in the project country Romania is as low as 14%.

With a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year, the GreenTech facility in Buzău recycles  used plastic, primarily PET bottles, entered into the recycling process and kept away from landfill or incineration. The material is turned into PET flakes (65,000 flakes per year), PET strapping and PET granulate, to manufacture new products. These are used in the automotive and construction sectors and in the manufacture of hygiene products and filters. GreenTech’s sister company GreenFiber processes PET flakes into recycled polyester fibres.

With more than 1,100 jobs, GreenTech and GreenFiber together have become the biggest employer in Buzău in the North-East of Bucharest, a somewhat underdeveloped region in which the rate of unemployment is twice as high as the national average. More than 50,000 children have taken part in the awareness campaigns educating about processes involved in recycling, such as the implementation of better waste separation and recycling infrastructures.

The project is the first ever Gold Standard certified “CO₂  emissions reduction from PET recycling” in Europe. It is in line with specific UN requirements, as it contributes to local environmental sustainability: Recycling instead of using material from virgin inputs decreases the overall energy use, greenhouse gases and environmental burden caused by natural resources extraction. With the income from the sale of carbon credits, they establish capacities for the professional recycling of hazardous waste materials, such as e-waste or medical waste, which do not yet exist in Romania. In addition, recycling activities in other regions of Romania and Eastern Europe are being developed. Through its activities, the company prevents around 45,380 tonnes of CO₂ emissions each year.

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future".
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