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.

Status Report on the German Recycling Economy 2024

| Project

The 2024 Status Report gives a comprehensive picture of the whole Recycling Economy sector and its future challenges.

Green transformation of industrial cities

| Event

The workshop is dedicated to the challenges surrounding the green transformation of regions. Prognos EU head Dr Jan-Philipp Kramer will report on his experiences with circular industrial cities at EU level in a presentation.

Roadmap for thermal waste treatment in Austria

| Project

Against the backdrop of the ever-increasing demand for recycled raw materials, the recycling of waste is becoming increasingly important. In this context, Wien Energie AG addressed the ques-tion of the role of thermal waste treatment in the circular economy.

Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI) Conference

| Event

Hanne Hagedorn and Vera Wechner are participating in the first General Conference of the Circular Cities and Regions Initiative (CCRI). This conference, organized by the European Commission, serves as a platform for stakeholders to exchange ideas on how cities, regions, and their partners across Europe are already harnessing all the energy and ideas to promote the transition to a circular economy and stimulate social innovation.

Supply chains: no climate neutrality without raw materials

| Project

Crises continue to put global trade routes at risk. This study by Prognos and partners indicates the measures necessary to secure strategically important supply chains.

EU monitoring framework: Economic aspects of the circular economy

| Project

Prognos was commissioned to develop a methodological framework for the collection of economic data on the circular economy, climate change and bioeconomy and its regular automated processing.

Ressource efficiency in Bavaria

| Project

Efforts to reduce the consumption of resources in the Bavarian economy must be increased. A Prognos study provides information on the status quo and the starting points for savings.

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).

Increased climate benefits thanks to European waste management

| Project

What contribution does European waste management make to achieving the Paris climate agreement goals?

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.

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.

Mineral waste landfill requirements in Saxony, up to the year 2035

| Project

On behalf of Saxony’s State Office for the Environment, Agriculture and Geology, Prognos deter-mined how landfill needs will develop up to the year 2035.

CIRCTER – Circular Economy and Territorial Consequences

| Project

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

Housing requirements in Baden-Württemberg

| Project

Baden-Württemberg’s housing market is seeing a clear imbalance between supply and demand. Between 2011 and 2015, an “accrued buildings deficit” of 88,000 too few apartments emerged. These are the results of a Prognos study conducted on behalf of L-Bank.

Prognos Zukunftsatlas® 2016

| Project

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

Hazardous Waste Management in EU Member States

| Project

Support to Member States in improving hazardous waste management based on assessment of Member States' performance.

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

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Dr Bärbel Birnstengel


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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.

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