In 2021 we focused on growing Green Group’s influence in the region, while navigating a global raw materials crisis, commodities scarcity, and logistics and supply issues, as well as an energy crisis. Despite this, Green Group successfully demonstrated itself to be a robust, mature and essential circular economy player with ever-growing regional significance.
Resource management is now both a challenge and an opportunity for global economies. Our business model is well positioned to deliver circular economy solutions as well as enhanced levels of social and environmental sustainability, as we focus on creating national closed loops where waste is locally recycled and transformed into new materials. This approach improves logistics by shortening transportation routes and reducing carbon emissions, boosting performance and creating economic opportunities by capitalising on the value of waste as an important local and renewable resource.
I invite you to read below the full summary of our 2021 journey.
Green Group Chairman
COVID-19 pandemic impacted all major divisions of Green Group (PET recycling, electric and electronic waste recycling, glass recycling and industrial waste management), but in different ways.
PET recycling division - Green Tech and Green Fiber – processing annually over 150.000 tons of PET waste, is capturing the trend of the overall market demand for recycled PET, while navigating challenges posed by an increase of raw material prices and lack of availability due to ineffective collection systems. Registering a YoY 45% increase in rPet volume, 3% increase in fiber volumes, and an overall volume increase of 7% for all recycled products.
GreenWEEE recycles and gives new life to electric and electronic waste. The company registered a 40% turnover increase compared to 2020, aided by the boost in prices for metals reclaimed by the recycling of cables, while overall recycled quantities recovered to the volumes prior to the pandemic. Another milestone reached by GreenWEEE was to recycle more than 200,000 pieces of flat screens since 2020, when the company started the first dedicated flat panel display recycling line in Central- East Europe.
The glass recycling division saw a steady performance, as business continued in line with the financial results and recycled quantities from the pre-pandemic years, within a stable market. GreenGlass transforms over 200 million glass bottles into billions of premium quality cullet products each year. This saves more than 15.000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of the emission of a plane which flies around the world about 1000 times.
Industries are large generators of waste in Romania, while industrial waste level exceeds municipal waste figures. Eltex, part of Green Group, provides industrial waste management services for major automotive and electronic producers, scoring a historical high, with a boost of 37% YoY, while beginning an important expansion in Southern Romania and securing new important clients.
Investments and projects
Upgrading operations in Slovakia
In September 2021, Green Group announced a €12 million investment in its Slovakian facility, to upgrade the current PET recycling operations with a new production line for recycled plastic granules from PET bottles (rPET). The new production line has a capacity of 8.000 tons/year and achieves added value through the vertical integration of PET recycling operations, creating secondary raw materials – a step forward towards achieving a circular economy for plastics in Slovakia.
rPET granules are the sustainable alternative for the production of food and non-food plastic packaging, having a carbon footprint of up to 60% lower than virgin granules.
New electronic waste recycling plant
In November 2021, Green Group’s electronic waste division, Green WEEE, launched a new electronic waste recycling facility, following a private €10 million investment. The new plant adds to Green Groups two existing facilities in Romania (Buzau and Campia Turzii) and will boost capacity by 30%. This new plant is in line with the Group’s strategic plan to grow through investments in new technologies and to drive reductions in GHG emissions and waste .
Gold Standard award
Last year saw a European first for plastic recycler Green Tech, with the company recognised by the prestigious Gold Standard for issuing carbon credits from its PET recycling activity. Over 453,000 carbon credits, with an estimated annual average GHG emissions reduction of 45,380 tonnes of CO2 per year, will be issued during the 10-year crediting period, helping businesses and individuals neutralise their carbon footprints.
Within a global sanitary crisis backdrop, customer demand soared for antimicrobial protection, with Green Fiber, part of Green Group, responding to the challenge and launching a new polyester fiber with 99.99% antimicrobial efficacy, for a wide range of applications: automotive, filtration, medical & hygiene, and home textiles.
Sustainability and ESG performance
Being in the environmental business, sustainability is the driving force for all our pursuits, and we are guided by the most demanding ESG standards.
As water plays an essential role in recycling, we are aware of our responsibility for improving water use efficiency, including reducing overall consumption and managing water pollution. In 2021, we began upgrading water treatment stations at the Buzau plant, with the Frasinu location to follow in 2022. We have ambitious goals for 2022 and 2023 to recycle 100% of our water by setting up dry plants.
Our commitment is to become a carbon-free recycler by 2025. In 2021, we started a feasibility study for the installation of photovoltaic panels at all of our recycling plants in Romania, and also implemented energy reduction measures for all PET recycling plants in Romania.
In 2021, we updated and implemented policies on Diversity and Inclusion, Human Rights, Money Laundering, Business Conduct and Whistleblowing. Our policies and procedures can be found on our website: Policy - Green Group (green-group-europe.com).
Green Group is a founding member of Circular Buzau, an open platform that envisions a circular development for the city of Buzau. It includes an action plan for managing municipal solid waste flows, with the purpose of scaling-up innovative solutions for reducing waste and extending the life cycle of products. In 2021, we strengthened our commitment towards this project, commissioning a park to create a green oasis in an industrial part of Buzau and donating an ultra-high definition outdoor screen for Buzau City Hall, to show movies, documentaries and educational programs.
In June 2021, Green Group joined forces with Eco-Durabil Association to support the creation of the first National Circular Economy Hub, located in Bucharest. It is designed as a space where objects that people no longer use find a new life by being repaired, refurbished and then donated to children and other people in need.
Also in June 2021, Green Group supported ‘N.I.Jilinschi’ School in Vernești in its efforts to become one of the most sustainable educational institutions of Romania, by donating intelligent waste collection equipment, designing educational projects and offsetting the school’s carbon emissions. As a result, the school was publicly recognized as the first school with zero carbon emissions and received an award within a national sustainability competition.
Awards and recognitions
The European Enterprise Promotion Awards announced Green Tech as a National Winner for the European 2021 competition in the category "Supporting the Sustainable Transition".
The winning project - "Green Tech PET Recycling" - aims to reduce CO2 emissions and boost the economy by transforming PET bottles into raw materials.
We received an important recognition from Abris Capital Partners when we were awarded their #ESGAward2021 in the Corporate Governance Category for a new software project, strengthening our business continuity plan.