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Waste | Resources

Modern life would be pretty much unthinkable without natural resources. Worldwide population and economic growth are putting increasing pressure on resources such as raw materials, land, and biodiversity. Hence using these resources more wisely and efficiently is sure to be a key skill set for future oriented societies.

One of the UBA’s main goals is to reduce resource use along with the environmental impact of such use as a whole and across the entire value chain. Against this backdrop, cutting back on waste and using it as a source of secondary raw materials and energy can make a significant contribution to resource conservation in the guise of resource friendly manufacturing processes, products and usage modalities.

Sparing and efficient use of natural resources is crucial not only from an ecological standpoint, but is also a major economic and social challenge. Hence resource conservation and resource policy constitute an inter-disciplinary field encompassing myriad strategies and stakeholders. This in turn means that we need to define a carefully constructed policy mix with just the right instruments for the tasks at hand. And this is where the UBA comes in. We devise concepts aimed at enshrining resource conservation in environmental policy along the entire value chain, beginning with raw material extraction, product design, the commercial and usage phases, and finally recycling and disposal. We also place great emphasis on informing and networking with the general public, business leaders and policymakers, and on the elaboration of ambitious objectives and the instruments needed to achieve them. Developing waste management, which is now primarily a disposal oriented activity, into a raw materials oriented recycling system is also taking on ever growing importance for us.

Germany’s raw material stockpile:What’s in buildings, roads, etc?

ein Plattenbau wird abgerissen

Extracting more and more new raw materials is unsustainable. The future ideal is a closed-loop, circular economy which, through “urban mining”, obtains many of its raw materials from end-of-life houses, piping, cables, cars and appliances rather than from mines and quarries. An UBA study has determined the types and quantities of potential secondary raw materials available in Germany. read more


Resource-efficient land use

stilisierte Erdkugel, auf der Landschaften und Städte überhöht dargestellt sind

The aim of the research project “Resource-efficient land use – Towards a Global Sustainable Land Use Standard” was to spark a debate on the development of a standard for global sustainable land use, launch the requisite scientific process and explore and identify options for implementing a global sustainable land use. read more


Climate protection in the waste management sector

Bio-gas plant

Waste management makes an important contribution to climate protection. Recycling, the energetic use of residual waste, and capturing and utilizing landfill gas contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Germany, the landfill ban for untreated municipal solid waste (MSW) set an important impulse for this development. read more


Waste prevention

A waste container being emptied

The Waste Policy aims to to protect the environment and human health by preventing and reducing the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste. The Waste Management Act (KrWG) requires to set up a German waste prevention program , with the goal of implementing the relevant EU requirement. The German Government's Waste Prevention Programme was adopted by the Cabinet on 31 July 2013. read more


The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment