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.

Residual waste in Germany has nearly halved in 35 years

volle Restmülltonne

Germany currently produces about half as much residual waste as 35 years ago, compared to the old federal states. This is shown by a current analysis of municipal residual waste in Germany for the German Environment Agency. The last such survey was conducted in 1985. Many more recyclable materials such as glass, paper and plastic are now collected separately. read more


Environmental & climate protection for crisis-proof value chains

raw material mining

This is the message of a virtual panel discussion hosted by OECD, UBA and UNEP in the context of current debates on the vulnerability of global value chains to crises and the legal regulation of human rights and environmental due diligence. The discussion focused on the need to better dovetail environmental protection and respect for human rights. read more


An estimated 310,000 vehicles with unknown whereabouts

end-of-life vehicles

In Germany, some 560,000 end-of-life vehicles arose in 2018. Recycling of these vehicles complied with the European recycling and recovery targets, yet the whereabouts of around 310,000 vehicles are unknown. UBA therefore recommends the introduction of minimum requirements for vehicle registration systems in respect of deregistration of vehicles. read more


EcoDesign Circle project nominated for Regiostars Award

Eine Diskussionsrunde auf einem Podium.

The "EcoDesign Circle" project coordinated by UBA is one of the finalists for the "Regiostars Awards", a competition of EU-funded projects that present inspiring approaches to regional development. The voting for the Audience Award is online on the competition website until 15 September. read more



Raul Walch. Laborant’s Pause, 2018. Inkjet-Print. Copyright: Raul Walch

Waste is everywhere: in the Great Pacific garbage patch, as fine particular matter in the air, or as microplastics in the food chain. The group exhibition Zero Waste showcases international positions in contemporary art that point out the urgency to save resources, consume less, and live more sustainably. Zero Waste is on display at the MdBK Museum of fine arts in Leipzig from Jun 25 til Nov 8. read more


OECD/UBA/UNEP event on environmental due diligence

Container terminal

In cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the German Environment Agency (UBA) is hosting a session on environmental due diligence in global supply chains on June 25, 2020, as part of the "OECD Global Forum for Responsible Business Conduct". The event takes place online. read more


Asbestos in buildings still a problem

hellgraue Wellplatten aus Asbestzement

Several million buildings in Germany built or refurbished before October 1993 may still contain asbestos today. A new guideline offers advice, especially to non-specialists, on what to consider when planning renovation and DIY work. read more


The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment