Waste & Secondary Raw Materials

The waste industry is facing new challenges.

Every year, more than 400 million tons of waste end up in waste treatment plants in Germany. More than three-quarters of these valuable resources is recycled or converted into energy, according to the German Federal Ministry for the Environment.

The waste industry is facing new challenges because: the economy needs more recycled raw materials. To achieve this, citizens need to separate waste more and better and change their attitude towards products and their use. Long-term megatrends on the one hand and short-term events on the other send mixed signals when it comes to securing the necessary infrastructure and technology for the future. However, investments in machinery, plants and personnel require precise scenarios of future developments.

Circular thinking – Circular deciding – Circular investing

Linear thinking and acting are no longer the benchmarks for a sustainable resource management. The future calls for a Circular Economy that strives for closed product and raw material cycles. Waste is an important source of recycled raw materials and these must be increasingly used in the production of products in times to come.

Nevertheless, recycling resources has its limits, economically, energetically, and ecologically. However, waste that can no longer be recycled can to a large extent be used for energy generation, including the pollutants that were removed in the recycling process.

On the way to a circular economy

The modern recycling economy is an important part of the circular economy. The Circular Economy Strategy is based on the goal of closed loop resource cycles. For this to become a reality in the future, close cooperation between product designers, industry and manufacturers, consumers, and the waste management industry is necessary to coordinate the materials used and the use and disposal of products.

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

However, the waste management industry is not able to change social values and consumption patterns, to increase value creation, and to ensure a complete recycling of raw materials on its own. The implementation of a circular economy is therefore a social task.

Waste & Secondary Raw Materials: A selection of our services

Strategy development

We support our customers in developing strategies and decisions based on reliable data, market analyses and forecasts.

Material flow analyses

We provide quantitative bases with specific material flow analyses and development forecasts, using our tried and tested bottom-up models.

Market trend assessments

We assess market trends and demands along the entire value chain.

Competition analyses

We analyze the competitive environment and evaluate the strategic positioning in the market.

Strategic recommendations

Last but not least, we develop strategic action recommendations and concepts for realization.

Our work on this topic

Take a look at our latest projects and activities.

Panel discussion: An EU-wide landfill ban on untreated municipal waste

| Event

Dr. Bärbel Birnstengel presents the results of the study on the CO2 reduction potential of the European waste management industry at a panel discussion in Brussels.

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).

Webinar: Monitoring the Transition to Circular Economy

| Event

Jannis Lambert and Tim Bichlmeier talk about monitoring concepts for the Circular Economy and present a self-assessment tool.

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.

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.

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Dr Bärbel Birnstengel


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Dr Jochen Hoffmeister

Partner, Director

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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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