In the report it prepares on behalf of the ALBA Group, ‘resources SAVED by recycling’, the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT investigates how the Group’s recycling activities work to save resources and cut greenhouse gas emissions.


To do so, the researchers use a highly detailed method developed in-house to compare the resource and greenhouse gas consumption of primary production with that of recycling. The difference between these two calculations gives the relative environmental impact per material flow.


The term ‘abiotic’ refers to non-renewable, unprocessed primary resources such as ores, coal or overburden, which are mined directly out of the earth to produce a usable material. ‘Biotic’ resources on the other hand are renewable primary resources such as wood, which are harvested and used as either materials or fuel. For the current report, Fraunhofer UMSICHT analysed the following flows of material for the ALBA Group: glass, wood, paper/paperboard/cardboard, metals, plastics, lightweight packaging and waste electrical equipment.


The overall figure of around 28.8 million tonnes of primary resources saved and around 3.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions avoided comprise data from ALBA Group recycling activities in Germany, Austria, Croatia, Poland and Slovenia.  The individual quantities shown relate solely to material flows in Germany – owing to the country-specific collection and recycling practices for individual materials.

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Explanatory videos

Learn more about the methodology.