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Prognos presents new Atlas of Secondary Raw Materials for Europe

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Waste management and environmental efficiency do not exclude one another. In the run up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen it has again become evident that waste management protects the climate, replaces valuable raw materials and delivers energy. In the 2nd European Atlas of Secondary Raw Materials presented today, Prognos analyses 17 selected waste streams and their resource potential in the 27 EU member states.

The second Prognos European Atlas of Secondary Raw Materials analyses 17 selected waste streams with significant material or energetic value. The total generation amounted to some 675 Mt, or 23%, of the total waste volumes generated in 2006. The Atlas looks at the total waste amount per waste stream and projects the existing recovery potentials in the EU 27 member states.

The volume shares of the individual waste streams differed significantly. The largest amounts were found for:
- Ashes & Slags (135 Mt)
- Waste Wood (107 Mt)
- Iron & Steel (>103 Mt without cycle materials)
- Biowaste (91 Mt)
- Paper & Cardboard (80 Mt).

How much of the resource potentials is still being withheld from the economy?
Of the 17 waste streams a total of 371 Mt were (re-)used as secondary raw material or energetically as fuel during the year 2006. This amount corresponds to a mere 55% of the total potential, while 45% were landfilled or disposed of in incineration plants without high energy efficiency.

The recovery rates differed significantly from waste stream to waste stream. The highest recovery rates were found for rubber & tyres (78%), iron & steel (77%), copper (69%), lead (68%) and paper & cardboard (67%). Further potential still exists for all analysed waste streams. They are particularly significant for the still unused resource potential of all those waste streams whose recovery rate is lower than the average recovery rate of 55%, mainly for e.g. biowaste (39%) or textiles (34%).

Waste management at the end of the lifecycle - this practice alone is no longer enough. Ulrich Grillo, President of the BDI-commodity policy committee, warned: 'We are heading directly toward a resource gap' (VDI News, Berlin, 28.08.2009) The use of waste as energy and raw material is not only a possibility to sustainably deal with waste, but it is increasingly becoming a necessary (secondary) source of raw materials.

One of the main objectives of European environmental policy should be the establishment of a recycling economy - as emphasized a few days ago by the chairman of the Environmental Committee of the European Parliament, Jo Leinen. He called on politicians to put forward concrete proposals to strengthen the industry and create the appropriate framework.

'We face the challenges' - the motto of the Swedish EU Presidency - also includes waste and recycling management. One of the priorities in the coming months - in addition to climate protection - will be to develop the framework conditions for strengthening the recycling management in Europe, to implement the EU Action Plan for recycling and to integrate this plan into an eco-efficient economy.

For the implementation of these general objectives specific conditions and actions are needed. These, in turn, need a solid data basis.

Prognos European Atlas of Secondary Raw Materials – 2006 Status Quo and Potentials (Berlin 2009, 86 pages, bilingual German/English)

The atlas can be ordered at http://www.prognos.com/sekundaerrohstoffatlas or via mail at a price of EUR 450 (print version incl. PDF) or EUR 395 (PDF) plus VAT.

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