Recycling in Germany - Status Quo, Potentials, Barriers and Solution Approaches

  • Project no.1325

In order to ensure the supply of raw materials for the long-term, a particular focus has to be set on the supply of raw secondary materials. Recycling extends the reach of primary resources and widens the supply base of the German economy. It also decreases the geopolitical dependence on few producing countries/companies. However, especially for critical raw materials, rates of recovery are appallingly low.

The objective of this study is to provide an overview on the current state of play of the recycling economy in Germany. It focuses on market processes which already provide economic incentives to close material cycles, respectively on specific obstacles which prevent such developments from happening.

Building on the analysis of specific barriers for individual waste fractions (legal and institutional barriers, market power, information deficits etc.), the study derives various instruments and action-oriented approaches which are likely to contribute to an improvement of recovery and reuse. Here, several best-practice approaches from abroad could be of high benefit for Germany. This involves i.a. greater use of economic instruments, measures to strengthen the integration of waste management and production sector, Urban Mining concepts, international agreements on raw-material recycling, and Green Tech Funds.

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