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Lively discussions on biogenic waste

On November 4th and 5th, around 100 experts from the waste industry met in Berlin for the 4th International RETech Conference to discuss the highly topical issue of climate and resource protection through environmentally sound collection and recycling of biogenic waste and to focus on various solutions and aspects. At times, more than 40 participants* also followed the conference online, which was held under the patronage of Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze.

"Against the backdrop of the international climate conference in Glasgow, it should be noted that a functioning circular economy is a key basic prerequisite for achieving global climate neutrality. This includes, in particular, the sustainable recycling of biogenic waste and residual materials. Especially for emerging and developing countries, where biogenic waste is not yet collected and recycled separately, the collection, treatment and recycling options presented at the conference can make a significant contribution to climate and resource protection," said Prof. Dr. Michael Nelles, board member of the German RETech Partnership, head of the Chair of Waste and Material Flow Management at the University of Rostock and managing director of the German Biomass Research Center in Leipzig.

Scientists, entrepreneurs, representatives of ISWA, the EU, German ministries and associations as well as NGOs reported on their experiences regarding framework conditions, challenges and best practice approaches in the countries of Ethiopia, China, Greece, India, Colombia, Russia, Thailand, Tanzania and Germany. Especially the separate collection of biogenic waste as well as varietal purity as a prerequisite for the production of usable composts are challenges that need to be addressed worldwide. It was also repeatedly pointed out that Germany still has some catching up to do in this area.

During the marketplace of the regions, the participants actively discussed experiences, challenges and possible solutions in the areas of politics, technology, financing, market and society at four round tables on the regions of Colombia, Southeast-Europe, Ethiopia and ISWA as a global organization. The results of these discussions were then presented to all conference participants. It was interesting to see that the countries face similar challenges. However, the German waste and recycling industry can offer good solutions. At the ISWA booth, the discussion focused on the "National Membership", which RETech and DGAW will assume for Germany in cooperation from 2022 onwards. It was also discussed how Germany can position itself within ISWA in the future.

The conference, funded by the "Export Initiative Environmental Technologies" of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, was organized by German RETech Partnership e.V. in cooperation with DBFZ (German Biomass Research Center), the University of Rostock and the Business Scouts for Development program of GIZ. The presentations, for which the speakers have agreed to be published, as well as the recording of the YouTube-Stream will soon be published on the RETech project homepage.