At Stora Enso, we believe that recycling is not enough. The world needs materials that are both renewable and recyclable - a circular bioeconomy - to combat global warming and to minimise waste.
Global consumption is rapidly growing but at the same time, consumer awareness of eco-friendly materials and limited natural resources is rising and regulation on circularity and sustainability is increasing. Companies and societies are increasingly choosing to replace fossil-based and other non-renewable materials with renewable and recyclable alternatives.
In a circular economy, waste is minimised as materials are reused and recycled to maximise environmental and financial value. We believe that a circular economy is only truly possible when raw materials are also circular – materials that can be renewed over and over again. This requires a transition towards a circular bioeconomy where fossil-based materials are replaced with renewable ones such as wood.
1. Wood is renewable. This means that when forests are managed sustainably, trees can grow back forever. Sustainable forestry safeguards forest health, biodiversity, and productivity - we need healthy forests to do business.
2. Healthy forests combat global warming. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and carbon is stored in their fibers - the carbon will stay in the fibers when they are made into products and even through recycling.
3. Non-renewable raw materials cannot be replenished within our lifetime - if ever. Many of these raw materials are also fossil-based and do not re-absorb the greenhouse gases that are emitted in their production or consumption.
Circular design means designing for the product life cycle instead of just the product. It takes into account the materials used, manufacturing, product function, distribution, and potential to repair, reuse, remanufacture, or recycle instead of the material ending up as a waste.
Stora Enso's Circular Design Guidelines introduce our circular design principles which are being integrated into our innovation and product management. One of the biggest things going for us is our raw material: we are lucky to be working with trees that grow back .Stora Enso's Packaging Materials division has published a Circular Design Guide for Packaging that focuses on recyclability. Read more and download the guide here.
Recycling is extremely important: no one wants products to end up as waste in landfills, our oceans, or nature. Many of us do our best to recycle our waste and know a fair share about how it all works.
We collected five things you may not have come across yet. Did you know, for example, that for anything to to be truly recyclable, it must actually get recycled? Or that recycling almost always requires an input of virgin materials too?
When products and materials are repaired, reused, and recycled, the need for new materials reduces, which decreases greenhouse gas emissions from raw material extraction such as oil drilling. When the new materials come from renewable sources, like wood does, no new fossil fuels are released into the atmosphere. This is because growing trees reabsorb the carbon dioxide that is released when wood or fibers decay or are burned for bioenergy. This is called the carbon cycle - watch this video to learn more.
Read more about Stora Enso's ambitious climate targets and how we combat global warming here. We've also calculated our total climate benefit, read more here.