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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.

UBA supports design for a circular economy

Discussion panel at the Circular Design Forum 2018

Keeping materials in circulation and preventing them from becoming waste is only possible if the design of a product is adapted accordingly. The possibilities offered by ecodesign were the topic of the Circular Design Forum in Berlin. Here, the results of the project “EcoDesign Circle” were presented, in which the UBA plays the leading role. Documentation and additional materials are now online. read more

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Can product design prevent marine litter?

crab in a plastic bottle on the beach

Designers can also contribute to solving the problem of marine litter – with the right choice of materials when designing products, for instance. This was the topic of a workshop that was initiated by the UBA in June 2018 with approximately 30 participants from the Baltic Sea Region. The results and specific recommendations for action have now been published. read more

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UBA welcomes EU proposal on single use plastics

eine Strandkrabbe sitzt in der Öffnung einer halben leeren Plastikflasche, die am Strand als Müll liegt

The European Commission issued a legislative proposal with seven measures for reducing waste on European beaches. The main aim of the proposal is to reduce the input of the most frequent plastic waste categories (top litter items). These are mainly single-use products such as food containers, cups, plastic bottles and cigarette butts, but also balloon sticks. read more

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UBA to host National and European Resources Forum

Ein Braunkohletagebau.

From 27 to 29 November 2018, the German Environment Agency (UBA) is hosting the fourth European Resources Forum (ERF) and National Resources Forum (NRF) in Berlin. Both conferences have established themselves as important platforms for the scientific and political debate about a sustainable use of natural resources in Germany, Europe and internationally. read more

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The Umweltbundesamt

For our environment