Recycling Economy & Resources

The recycling economy faces new challenges.

Around 400 million tonnes of waste are generated in Germany annually, by private households, industry, commerce, and the construction industry. Three quarters of this amount is recycled or used for energy purposes; the remaining quantity is dumped.

Think, decide, and invest in cycles

Recent past has shown: Germany’s dependence on energy and raw material imports must be reduced significantly. The economy requires a secure supply of raw materials, and this should be increasingly based on national and European recycling.

There is still a great deal to be done on the way to achieving a truly circular economy: political guidelines will be tightened; attitudes toward products and their use must change; businesses and citizens will be required to sort their waste more carefully than ever before.

Long-term megatrends on the one hand and short-term events such as floods, COVID-19, or the “summer of the century,” on the other, give different signals indicating the necessary infrastructures and technologies of tomorrow. Investments in machinery, equipment, and personnel require a precise idea of future developments.

Closed product and raw material cycles

Linear thinking and action are no longer the yardstick for a sustainable resource economy. The future belongs to the circular economy, which means closed product and raw material cycles.

The requirements and expectations for the recycling economy as a supplier of raw materials and energy are rising, and material and market conditions are becoming increasingly complex. But recycling reusable materials has its limits, in terms of the economy, energy, and ecology. Waste that can no longer be recycled can, to a large extent, be used to produce energy, and this includes the pollutants discharged from the recycling processes. In addition, CO2 capture and storage in thermal waste treatment should be considered in the future.

Design for Recycling, recycling quotas, the Fuel Emissions Trading Act, the amendment to the Commercial Waste Ordinance: local and private companies need support here and elsewhere. Waste management authorities need assistance with their various waste prevention plans and programmes, improving the collection of recyclables, and formulating measures for zero-waste concepts. We give this orientation on the basis of long-standing waste market analyses.

Produkt- und Stoffkreislauf in einer Circular Economy und die dafür verantwortlichen Akteure
Prognos AG

Recycling Economy & Resources: A selection of our services

Market analyses and forecasts

Strategies and decisions need to be developed based on reliable data and thorough market analysis and forecasts – we can help you with this.

Material flow analyses and development forecasts

We create the quantitative basis with specific material flow analyses and development forecasts using tried-and-tested bottom-up models.

Market trend analysis

We investigate market trends and market requirements along the entire value chain.

Competitive analysis

We analyse the competitive environment and evaluate your strategic positioning in the market.

Strategic action recommendations

We develop strategic recommendations for action and implementation concepts.

Our work on this topic

Take a look at our latest projects and activities.

DG REGIO – Evaluation of the European Green Deal

| Project

How effective has the EU cohesion policy been in driving green change in Europe? This and other questions are being investigated jointly with COWI, Milieu, and CSIL, on behalf of the European Commission (DG REGIO).

Cost model for the disposal of single-use plastics

| Project

Manufacturers will have to pay the costs of collecting and disposing of single-use plastic products through a special levy. We developed a cost model for the Federal Environment Agency.

Zero Waste Concept Munich

| Project

We supported the Wuppertal Institute in the development of the Zero Waste Concept Munich for Munich’s waste management services (AWM).

Circular economy potential for rural development

| Project

Equal living conditions in the city and in the country are a federal government goal. We are looking into how the circular economy can contribute to this for the Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Construction (BMWSB).

Accompanying the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative

| Project

The CCRI focuses on the implementation of a circular economy in European cities and regions. Prognos is supporting the initiative as a project partner in the associated Coordination and Support Office.

Economic aspects of the circular economy

| Project

Analysis of circular economy, climate change mitigation and adaptation as economic sectors.

Transformation paths for the German steel industry

| Project

Producing primary steel in a greenhouse gas-neutral manner – this is the task facing the steel industry. We have created two scenarios for the German Steel Federation.

Status Report on Germany’s Closed-Loop Economy 2020

| Project

The "Status Report on Germany’s Closed-Loop Economy 2020" provides an up-to-date overview of the sector's activities, economic relevance and future challenges.

Waste Management Plan NRW

| Project

Prognos waste experts were commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to update the 2008 Waste Management Plan.

CIRCTER – Circular Economy and Territorial Consequences

| Project

An investigation into the economic structure of the regional Circular Economy in Europe.

Prognos Zukunftsatlas® 2016

| Project

How are Germany's regions positioned for the future? The 2004 study in cooperation with Handelsblatt.

Prognos Zukunftsatlas® 2010

| Project

How are Germany's regions positioned for the future? The 2010 study in cooperation with Handelsblatt.

Prognos Zukunftsatlas® Industries 2009

| Project

“Prognos Zukunftsatlas® Industries 2009” focuses on the future fields that have potential for a strong increase in value creation over the next five to ten years.

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Dr Jochen Hoffmeister

Partner, Director

View profile

Dr Bärbel Birnstengel


View profile

About us

Prognos – Providing Orientation.

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.

Learn more