Recycling, now and always
For environmental, economic, and social reasons, recycling of solid waste is a growing activity in Brazil. According to the Business Commission on Recycling (CEMPRE), Brazil has higher rates of recycling than other countries, and potential for further development in this area.
Recycling involves a chain that starts with separation of solid waste by individuals, and moves through collection, sorting, and preparation of the collected material, which is then sent to the factory to be transformed into new raw materials. From an economic point of view, this activity reduces production costs, distributes wealth, and promotes the recovery of raw materials which are reinserted into the consumption cycle.
Today, part of Brazil’s population is served by municipal recycling services, and part of these programs include participation by cooperatives formed of individuals who collect recyclables. It is important to emphasize that most of this material is directed toward the industry via wastepaper wholesalers.
Recycling could be even more comprehensive through innovative public policies, better organization of the workers who collect materials, and new consumer attitudes.
To deepen the contributions to sustainable development and collaborate with the Brazilian federal government’s National Solid Waste Policy (PNRS) with regard to reverse logistics systems for packaging in general, several sectors of Brazilian industry with related activities worked together with Ibá to draw up a draft agreement in which they made a voluntary commitment to establish a system of reverse logistics for packaging, in order to reduce dry recyclable waste.
The PNRS establishes shared responsibility by the production chain during the product life cycle in integrated management of solid urban waste. The federal government's goal is to reduce the dry share of this waste disposed in landfills by 45% by 2031.
The planted tree industry has a very strong history in reverse logistics and has made heavy investments in sustainable practices, which impacts the entire production chain from the forests to the finished products that reach the market. Proof of this can be seen in the high rate of paper recovery, which reaches 64% of the total amount of recyclable paper consumed in the country, making Brazil one of the world’s largest paper recyclers.
There is a maximum limit on the recycling capacity of different types of paper, which depends on several factors such as the number of times the fiber can be recycled, the need to add virgin fiber in the recycling process to meet minimum quality standards, and the fact that not all paper produced returns to the production chain (for example, books, documents, and boxes used for storage).
We believe that planted trees are the future of raw materials that are renewable, recyclable, and friendly to the environment, biodiversity, and human life. The planted tree industry is ready to fulfill its role in the PNRS.
Companies in the tree sector
Companies in the planted tree sector have adopted rigorous management of solid wastes in their activities, both in forestry and industry, in order to reduce generation of waste and to ensure the best possible destination for this waste, and to comply with legal and certification-related requirements pertaining to this subject.
Solid waste from forestry
Materials such as bark, branches, and leaves are left in the field to protect and fertilize the soil.
Waste from industrial activities
Used to generate energy by burning in boilers to generate steam (and in turn, electricity) for the production process, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
Waste for lumber production (chips and sawdust) and paper scraps
Used as raw materials by companies in the planted tree sector.
Other wastes such as lime sludge and boiler ash account for 4.6% and are reused as raw materials by other industrial sectors, such as in the production of cement and recycled fuel oil.
In order to disseminate good practices, contributing to accessible information and guiding public interest about the proper disposal of waste from construction, Ibá worked together with several partners to produce and publish a booklet entitled 'Management of Industrial Wood Waste in Construction' and the infographic 'Paper recycling; from citizen to industry,' which seeks to encourage this practice in the everyday life of the population.