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Status Report on Germany’s Closed-Loop Economy 2020


ASA, BDE, BDSAV, BDSV, bvse, DGAW, InwesD, ITAD, KdK, PlasticsEurope, VDMA, VDM, VHI, VKU, IFAT



Prognos produced the "Status Report on Germany’s Closed-Loop Economy 2020" in cooperation with INFA GmbH and Prof. Martin Faulstich. The clients of the study are: ASA, BDE, BDSAV, BDSV, bvse, DGAW, InwesD, ITAD, KdK, PlasticsEurope, VDMA, VDM, VHI, VKU and IFAT. Thanks to the content support of the 15 associations, societies and companies, the report offers a summarised and consolidated overview of the entire industry. Back in 2018, a first status report on the closed loop economy in Germany was presented on the occasion of IFAT 2018, the world's leading trade fair for environmental technologies.

Economic significance

In 2017, the closed loop economy achieved a turnover of approximately 84.1 billion euros (+ 18 percent compared to 2010) and employed more than 310,000 people in 2019 (+ 12 percent compared to 2010). Today, almost as many people are employed in the closed loop economy nationwide as in the energy industry. With a gross value added of around 28.1 billion euros in 2017 (+ 31 percent compared to 2010), the sector is a significant economic factor in Germany.

Total life cycle of recyclables

"Collecting, sorting, processing, handling and disposing of more than 400 million tonnes of waste per year - this requires close cooperation between all players in the market," concludes Prognos project manager of the study, Dr Jochen Hoffmeister.

The European Commission as well as the federal and state governments set the strategic, environmental and waste policy framework and monitor its implementation. The implementation rests with the approximately 10,700 private and municipal companies in the environmental service branch in Germany. The technological framework is provided by companies in the plant engineering, mechanical engineering and vehicle construction sectors.  By designing recyclable products and taking them back at the end of their life cycle, manufacturers are increasingly assuming their extended product responsibility.

Resource efficiency and climate protection

The recycling economy is on its way to becoming a circular economy. The recovery of raw materials from recycled materials is one of the central tasks here. The global shortage of primary raw materials is driving up industrial production costs. Therefore, it is important that the companies of the closed loop economy recycle the increasing volume of waste from industry, commerce and private households for energy and materials and return the recyclates to the raw material cycle.

Increasing the recycling of valuable materials also contributes to securing the national supply of raw materials. In addition, it adds to resource and climate protection and contributes to the energy transition.

The data and information in the status report are based on publicly available statistics and studies as well as surveys and figures from the participating associations, organisations and companies.

Direct link to the "Status Report on Germany’s Closed-Loop Economy 2020" (in German, PDF,

Further information on the PDF versions of the status report, on the presentation of the results, on the graphics used and on the commissioning associations can be found on the landing page for the status report (in German):

Authors: Dr Bärbel Birnstengel, Marieke Eckhardt, Lukas Haberland, Dr Jochen Hoffmeister, Dr Georg Klose, Jannis Lambert, Myrna Sandhövel, Nadja Schütz, Richard Simpson, Angelina Thevessen, Johann Weiss

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Your contact at Prognos

Dr Bärbel Birnstengel


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Dr Jochen Hoffmeister

Partner, Director

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Prognos is one of the oldest economic research centres in Europe. Founded at the University of Basel, Prognos experts have been conducting research for a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors since 1959 – politically independent, scientifically sound.

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