Saving Resources by a Material Category Oriented Recycling Product Industry

  • Project no.350234
  • Duration 11/2014 - 03/2017

The waste management industry provides important contributions to resource conservation. Measuring the impact of secondary raw materials on the primary material flows has been difficult so far. Thus, meaningful indicators which are capable to connect to macroeconomic input indicators have not been available yet.

The aim of this project is to update and extend the database to calculate the corresponding indicators by using the elaborated bottom-up method from the previous project "Determination of the contributions of the waste management sector to increasing resource productivity and of the share recycling takes in the value-added chain displaying the paths of recovery of relevant waste" and to present this data in a time series from 2007 to 2013. Starting from a material flow approach, it is intended to set approximately the entire volume of secondary raw materials in a recognisable relation to the total material requirement of the economy (DMI and RMI). For this purpose - in addition to an analysis of the waste generated by material categories - 30 quantitative relevant materials are researched in greater depth. By using the indicators DERec (Direct Effects of recovery) and DIERec (Direct and Indirect Effects of recovery) developed in the preceding project, the conservation of the primary raw materials will be identified and reported.

Moreover, the energy and financial savings by substitution of primary materials with secondary materials will be assessed. The project is divided into the following four thematic work packages (WP):

WP1: Waste generation by material categories

  • Material flow classification for the material categories biomass, metals, minerals and plastics based on waste statistics and information from associations

WP2: Recycling paths according to waste hierarchy

  • Selection and in-depth studies for 30 materials

WP3: Comparative balance sheets with respect to primary production

  • Identifying relevant areas of use and appropriate substitution factors
  • Calculation of the indicators DERec, DIERec as well as the balance of the CED for primary and secondary materials

WP4: Macro-economic recycling effects

  • Saving of resources, material and energy over time and discussion
  • Estimation of the macro-economic cost saving over time

The research project is being carried out on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency under the Environmental Research Plan of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety Construction, and is financed by federal funds.

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