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Steps to modern waste management

In view of the world’s steadily growing population, people’s increasing aspirations to wealth and the escalating costs of resources, the conservation and efficient management of our global resources is a challenge on the same scale as climate change mitigation and energy supply security. Inappropriate treatment of residential, commercial and industrial wastes impairs human health and puts additional pressure on the environment, increasingly and particularly on the oceans. At the same time valuable resources are lost irretrievably. Policymakers and societies in every country are called upon to confront these challenges and to develop solutions that are both technically appropriate and economically viable.

Case studies in many countries show that an advanced waste management sector is able to meet these challenges. Germany embarked on the path towards a modern circular economy in the 1970s. By now, around 79% (www.umweltbundesamt.de) of municipal waste is recovered and some 65% is recycled. An economic sector in its own right has emerged, with a workforce of more than 200,000 and an annual turnover of some 40 billion euros. Germany continues to pursue this path, with a clear focus on resource efficiency and recycling.

An advanced waste management sector cannot be designed to a standard formula. The initial settings, regional characteristics and economic conditions diverge too widely from country to country for any such formula to apply. Nonetheless, other states, regions and municipalities can certainly benefit from practical experience, know-how and tried and-tested waste management technology.


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Germany’s expertise for an advanced circular economy

In view of the world’s steadily growing population, people’s increasing aspirations to wealth and the escalating costs of resources, the conservation and efficient management of our global resources is a challenge on the same scale as climate change mitigation and energy supply security. Inappropriate treatment of residential, commercial and industrial wastes impairs human health and puts additional pressure on the environment, increasingly and particularly on the oceans. At the same time valuable resources are lost irretrievably. Policymakers and societies in every country are called upon to confront these challenges and to develop solutions that are both technically appropriate and economically viable.

This document aims to assist and encourage in the step-by-step development of an advanced waste management sector. It cannot determine the right path for a country – that can only be established by working individually with experts. That is why at the back of the booklet you will find the contact details of institutions in Germany who can help you with this task.

The need to curb natural resources depletion and climate change and secure a healthy living space for an ever growing human society has become a global challenge which increases the demand to minimise waste generation and manage arising wastes effectively and sustainably on a worldwide scale. This task applies to all countries independently from their status of development. Many countries are therefore faced with the necessity to initiate a process of transformation from the conventional scheme of waste disposal through simple dumping or landfilling towards the gradual implementation of a closed loop management of their wastes.

For Polish users, this information has now been updated and optimized via a Polish translation, which enables Polish municipal officials to obtain information concerning German best practices in the field of waste management. An eBook version of this resource can also be downloaded from the Advisory Assistance Programme database.

Visualization of examples of best practices in the field of waste management is a map based Internet platform which aims to share information on public-sector and private-sector projects in the field of waste management.