Circular economy

Waste management in Germany has undergone considerable change since the early 1990s. Both the policy and legal framework, as well as voluntary commitments and declarations of the industry, have allowed a paradigm shift from a disposal economy towards a circular economy. The key concept of the circular economy is the establishment of closed-loop material flows. In a closed loop, all resources applied over the entire life cycle of a product fully re-enter the production process at the end of life of the product.

Our focus of work


Waste biomass

Biodegradable waste is very common and often has a wide range of valuable properties. The identification of potentials and their realisation under specific local circumstances is one of the key services ifeu is pleased to provide.

packed cucumbers isolated on white backrgound

Waste prevention

Waste prevention is not only the first rule of the current Waste Management Act (KrWG), it is also fundamental for resource conservation. Optimised waste prevention or reduction should be the guiding principle for all production and consumption processes.


Mineral building and construction waste

Mineral building and construction waste has failed to make an impact as a valuable secondary raw material until very recently. In consequence, the reintroduction into the building material loop after suitable processing according to the respective valuable properties is limited. The development of novel pathways and the discovery of innovative solutions was a key research topic at ifeu in recent years.


Recovery and recycling

The definition of waste materials as secondary raw materials and their re-entry into the circular economy according to their valuable properties are key drivers of resource efficiency. The modern circular economy is based on this principle. It strives to establish processing systems for all waste materials, thus contributing to both the reduction of environmental burdens and resource conservation.

Modern  hydraulic disposer empties a complete trailer, while bulldozer manages landfill.


Waste disposal is a key element of a functional circular economy. Waste management requires sinks for the deposition of pollutants and contaminants and the exfiltration of hazardous and environmentally harmful substances.


Climate and environmental protection potentials

The paradigm shift from waste disposal to circular economy represents a vital contribution of waste management to climate protection and the mitigation of climate change. These waste management contributions are modelled and quantified with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, which allows a holistic evaluation of waste management activities.


Florian Knappe

Dipl. Geograph (graduate in geography)
Phone: +49 (0)6221 4767 26

Horst Fehrenbach

Dipl. Biologe (graduate in biology)
Phone: +49 (0)6221 4767 16

Regine Vogt

Dipl. Ing. Technical Environment Protection
Phone: +49 (0)6221 4767 22