Press release

2020 status report on the German circular economy

November 17, 2020

  • Extensive data, wide range of information
  • Publishers are 15 associations, societies, companies
  • IFAT: platform for the global raw materials industry

Reusing valuable resources and reducing their consumption significantly—that is the vision of the circular economy. The "Status Report on the German Circular Economy 2020" provides comprehensive data and information on the entire sector's activities and looks at future topics such as Circular Economy 4.0, resource conservation, energy transition and climate protection.

“The 'Status Report on Germany’s Closed-Loop Economy' impressively demonstrates the importance of the waste and raw materials industry as an economic sector and for future issues such as climate protection,” explains Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München. IFAT is one of the report’s 15 supporters. “We look forward to bringing all our partners and customers together again in Munich at the next IFAT in 2022 to further support the economic development and international networking of the environmental industry.”

German industry important player in global trade

In the context of the world's largest environmental technology trade fair with its spin-offs in China, India, Africa and Turkey, it is particularly interesting that for many years the German closed-loop economy has been an important player in the global trade with plants, machinery and secondary raw materials. On the one hand, there is a great need for modern technologies in many countries of the world in order to build up their own disposal structures. On the other hand, more and more secondary raw materials are required for the development of national economies, especially in the emerging markets, not least again for the manufacture and export of products to Europe. The market segment "technology for waste management" by itself had an export volume of 5.1 billion euros in 2018. The most important target markets in this area are still the United States, China and France. However, important secondary raw materials, such as copper, iron and aluminum scrap are primarily shipped to Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands with a total volume of 9.5 billion euros.

Products & innovations

The technologically advanced and innovative industrial goods from the sector of closed-loop economy "Made in Germany" are still in great demand on the world market. A few years ago, Germany was ranked third behind the USA and Japan in terms of patent applications. In the meantime, China has passed Germany by - a clear sign that Chinese competitors are catching up in terms of innovative strength and quality. Hence, global competition is increasing. If German suppliers want to maintain their leading global market position, they will have to make even greater efforts to meet the challenges in the global competition in innovation. This will be even more important as increasingly complex products require more and more complex recycling technologies.

The Status Report on Germany’s Closed-Loop Economy 2020 was initiated and its contents supported by a total of 15 associations, societies and companies: Working Group for Material-Specific Waste Treatment (ASA); Federal Association of the German Waste, Water and Raw Materials Management Industry (BDE); Federal Association of German Hazardous Waste Incineration Plants (BDSAV); Federal Association of German Steel Recycling and Disposal Companies (BDSV); Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Management (bvse); German Association for Waste Management (DGAW); IFAT—World's Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management; Community of German Landfill Operators (InwesD); Association of Thermal Waste Treatment Plants in Germany (ITAD); German association “Klimaschutz durch Kreislaufwirtschaft e.V.” (climate protection through circular economy); PlasticsEurope Deutschland; Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA); Association of the German Wood-Based Panel Industry (VHI); Association of German Metal Traders (VDM); German Association of Local Utilities (VKU).

The report was prepared by Prognos AG and INFA GmbH with scientific advice by Prof. Martin Faulstich.

Download the status report:

Excerpt with essential facts: Industry Insights

Status Report on the German Circular Economy 2020_with publishers
Status Report on the German Circular Economy 2020
Silvia Hendricks
Silvia Hendricks
  • PR Manager