How trading recycled plastics will help build a sustainable future
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How trading recycled plastics will help build a sustainable future

How trading recycled plastics will help build a sustainable future

To enable global circularity, UAE-based Rebound has launched a global B2B digital trading platform for recycled plastic

Trading recycled plastic through Rebound Plastic Exchange

Plastics and its relationship with the modern world cuts both ways. While it is an extremely useful material for society and serves several purposes, its consumption and subsequent disposal are endangering the environment and impacting the world in more ways than one. 

Despite pledges on organisational and national levels, adverse climatic changes and grim forecasts have called for renewed commitment on multiple fronts. Green investments as well as greater cross-border cooperation are some of the examples to preclude a looming environmental crisis.

According to an OECD report, the annual production of plastics has doubled over the last two decades, from 234 million tonnes (Mt) in 2000 to 460 Mt in 2019. Meanwhile, plastic waste has more than doubled, from 156 Mt in 2000 to 353 Mt in 2019, of which only 9 per cent was recycled. As much as 19 per cent was incinerated, almost 50 per cent went to sanitary landfills and the residual 22 per cent was disposed of in uncontrolled dumpsites, burned or leaked into the environment. This suggests that the current plastics lifecycle is anything but sustainable.

Local initiatives

The UAE has taken key initiatives to mitigate the usage of plastics. Dubai launched the citywide sustainability movement in February to encourage the use of refillable bottles through the installation of drinking water stations. By September, the initiative had seen a reduction in the usage of an equivalent of over 3.5 million 500ml single-use plastic water bottles.

The neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi also announced the introduction of a range of installations at high footfall locations to collect single-use plastic bottles for recycling. It also banned the use of single-use plastic bags from June 1, while Dubai levied a Dhs0.25 tariff per bag a month later.

However, addressing plastic products and their impact from a lifecycle perspective is equally imperative. To enable global circularity, Rebound, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company launched a global B2B digital trading platform for recycled plastics.

Maryam Al Mansoori, CEO at Rebound (2)
Maryam Al Mansoori 

“As the world’s plastics market is forecast to reach $46.6bn by 2025, Rebound Plastic Exchange (RPX) serves as a global business-to-business marketplace to trade recycled plastics,” says Maryam Al Mansoori, general manager, Rebound.

“RPX creates new economic opportunities and a point of market entry for most of the world’s communities which do not have domestic capacity to process or use plastic feedstock in their own manufacturing levels. It incentivises new processors to trade material, fostering growth in the recycling industry while creating substantial employment opportunities along the way,” Al Mansoori adds.

Rising demand

Demand for recycled plastics is growing rapidly around the globe as governments and businesses move to curb the environmental and societal impacts of plastic waste, Al Mansoori added.

“The circular ecosystem provides RPX’s proprietor Rebound the opportunity to facilitate the recycling of five million tonnes of plastic by 2025.

“Since its launch, we have received an overwhelming response and have members registered on RPX from the Middle East, North America, Latin America, India, Southeast Asia and Europe. Many other industry players have [also] expressed an interest in subscribing.”

However, during cross-border trades, how will the exchange ensure transparency and product integrity? “RPX deploys inspectors and other specifications to ensure the quality of products traded through its platform and the legitimacy of buyers and sellers. Through its certification protocol, Rebound positions trust and quality at the core of its processes, starting from onboarding members to completing the transaction. In its next phases, the platform will further incorporate automated systems to verify product authenticity and quality,” Al Mansoori adds.

Moving ahead

Plastics consumption is projected to increase in the future. Subsequently, plastic waste produced globally is set to almost treble by 2060, with around half ending up in landfill and shy of a fifth recycled, another OECD report revealed.

Therefore, reducing plastics-related pollution requires a concerted effort to curb production, enhance recycling and improve waste collection and management. More so, setting recycling targets and investing in related technologies, encouraging sustainable waste management practices as well as reducing uncontrollable disposal will help underpin the recycled plastics market.

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