The Intersection of Recycled Materials and Emissions: A Sustainable Approach to Business

Alfred Tang

Hatched by Alfred Tang

May 22, 2024

4 min read


The Intersection of Recycled Materials and Emissions: A Sustainable Approach to Business


In today's world, businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainability and reducing their environmental impact. Two key areas that companies focus on are the use of recycled materials and the management of emissions. By understanding the definitions and scope of recycled materials as well as the different types of emissions, companies can adopt a more sustainable approach to their operations. In this article, we will explore the connection between recycled materials and emissions, and provide actionable advice for businesses to implement.

Recycled Materials and Their Scope:

Recycled materials play a crucial role in reducing waste and conserving resources. According to the IFRS-S2-IBG, recycled material is defined as waste material that undergoes reprocessing or treatment through production or manufacturing processes to become a final product or component for incorporation into another product. This definition encompasses both remanufactured materials and those that are reused or reclaimed.

Remanufactured materials are products or components that are recovered and used for the same purpose for which they were initially conceived. This includes products that have been donated or refurbished by the entity or third parties. On the other hand, reclaimed materials are processed to recover or regenerate a usable product. These materials contribute to the circular economy by extending the life cycle of products and reducing the need for virgin resources.

Emissions and Their Impact:

Emissions, on the other hand, have a direct impact on the environment and contribute to climate change. The IsoMetrix classification identifies three types of emissions: Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3.

Scope 1 emissions refer to direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company. This includes emissions from a company's own factory or manufacturing facility. These emissions are within the company's immediate control and can be directly reduced through various measures such as energy-efficient technologies or renewable energy sources.

Scope 2 emissions, on the other hand, are indirect emissions resulting from the generation of purchased energy. For example, if a company purchases electricity from a power station, the emissions generated by that power station would fall under Scope 2. Reducing Scope 2 emissions can be achieved by sourcing renewable energy or improving energy efficiency.

Scope 3 emissions encompass all other indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the reporting company, both upstream and downstream. This includes emissions from transportation, suppliers, and customers. For instance, delivery vehicle emissions generated during the transportation of raw materials or finished goods fall under Scope 3. Managing Scope 3 emissions requires collaboration with suppliers, optimizing transportation routes, and promoting sustainable practices among customers.

Connecting Recycled Materials and Emissions:

The connection between recycled materials and emissions lies in their shared goal of reducing environmental impact. By incorporating recycled materials into their products or components, companies can decrease the demand for virgin resources, thereby reducing emissions associated with extraction, processing, and transportation. Additionally, using recycled materials can help divert waste from landfills, further reducing the environmental burden.

Actionable Advice:

1. Conduct a Material Assessment:

To effectively incorporate recycled materials into your operations, start by conducting a comprehensive material assessment. Identify the types of waste generated by your organization and explore opportunities for reprocessing or treatment. Engage with suppliers and third-party certification entities to ensure the recycled materials meet the required standards. This assessment will provide insights into the feasibility and impact of using recycled materials in your products.

2. Collaborate with Supply Chain Partners:

Reducing Scope 3 emissions requires collaboration with supply chain partners. Engage with suppliers to promote sustainable practices and encourage the use of recycled materials. Implement measures such as optimizing transportation routes, consolidating shipments, or exploring alternative transportation modes to minimize emissions. By working together, you can create a more sustainable value chain.

3. Set Ambitious Emission Reduction Targets:

Establishing emission reduction targets is crucial for driving change within your organization. Set ambitious goals to reduce both Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Invest in energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy sources, and implement energy management systems to track and monitor your progress. Additionally, consider offsetting your unavoidable emissions through verified carbon offset projects.


The combination of recycled materials and emissions management provides businesses with a holistic approach to sustainability. By incorporating recycled materials, companies can reduce their reliance on virgin resources and decrease emissions associated with resource extraction and transportation. Simultaneously, managing emissions across the value chain enables organizations to minimize their overall environmental impact. By following the actionable advice provided, businesses can take significant steps towards a more sustainable and responsible future.

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