The launch of the BIN2BEAN project.
Healthy soils – with good compost! Separate collection of bio-waste is being introduced in all EU countries. Good products are the goal, suitable for improving our soils. How can this be optimized in the chain from household or restaurant to application on soils? How to avoid pollutants in organic waste? Which treatment method leads to the appropriate soil improvers?
In collaboration with DECHEMA, N³ will supervise 25 joint research projects until the end of the year, within the framework of the BMBF’s Funding for Sustainability (FONA). The title – “Resource Efficient Circular Economy – Innovative Product Cycles (ReziProK)” – already gives away what it’s all about: Innovative solutions for product cycles were sought. It entails the development of new business models, design concepts, and digital technologies. The overarching project, which includes both DECHEMA and N³, is called RessWInn. N³ is responsible for:
We are proud of a project of importance for international environmental pollicy: We were commissioned by the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) to develop a set of indicators to measure progress towards a more sustainable chemistry and chemicals management. The purpose of these indicators is to enable reviewing progress of the targets that are currently developed and discussed in the Intersessional Process of SAICM and sound management of chemicals and waste.
Circular economy and toxic-free environment ar two major policy goals, which cannot be reached in combination. We present a study with a holistic view on mass flows of materials from production to waste. The „circular economy“ concept aims at maximizing re-use or recycling of products and materials from the technosphere. Hazardous compounds are among the most prominent obstacles towards this goal. On the other hand, the “toxic-free environment” strategy aims at more and more products without any contaminants. Both goals are part of the 7th Environment Action Plan. Approaching both visions requires a thorough revision of the interfaces between chemicals and waste regulation. There is a legislative tendency to extend the regulatory basis for chemicals into the waste sector to prevent contamination of recycled materials with hazardous substances. In contrary to the hazard dominated classification and labelling of chemicals (CLP), physical properties, aggregate state, exposure scenarios, etc. are part of the risk oriented classification of waste. From the investigation of some practical examples we conclude that in a circular economy risk-based approaches will be necessary also in future. Otherwise, handling waste would become extremely difficult without gaining a higher safety level for workers, consumers, and environment. Moreover, circular economy approaches might be severely hampered at an early stage.
Up to Date: EFRAG presented the revised draft of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) at the end of November 2022. It’s now up to the EU Commission to decide whether these improved, yet still overcomplicated, rules for CSR reporting will be enacted in their current form. After N³’s detailed comments on ESRS E5 “Resource use and circular economy” in the first draft of April 2022 were largely considered, we’ve also commented on the new ESRS in extracts. Our statement can be downloaded at the end of this blog post.
Though reactive nitrogen compounds are a key resource for food production, losses of reactive nitrogen to all environmental media (e.g. from fertilizers, farmyard manure, landfills among others) lead to numerous effects on the environment, human health, climate and biodiversity. Pressure on the planet’s resources and ecology is steadily increasing – even faster than the emission of carbon dioxide. The amount of reactive nitrogen compounds emitted into the environment is far too high and already exceeds the “safe operating space” for future life on our planet!
The City of Cape Coast is among the pilot municipalities engaged in UN Habitat’s Waste Wise Cities programme. N³ accompanied the waste sampling and analysis process, from which important conclusions were drawn for the structuring of the city’s future waste management. We are pleased that Cape Coast’s twin city, Bundesstadt Bonn, commissioned us to accompany the study.
Plastics is not only a problem for our oceans caused by lack of suitable waste management on other continents. Even in Europe, plastic waste is entering the environment. How to avoid plastic entering soils? One important source of input is compost from polluted bio-waste mostly due to incorrect sorting by the waste producer, i.e. households. Compost is an important material that improves the structure and fertility of soils serving also as a sink for CO2. Therefore, the answer is: Bio-waste should be free of plastics! But how do we achieve this goal? Yasmin Eger, one of Henning Friege’s Master Students, investigated which measures or combinations of measures are best suitable to reduce the rate of misplaced materials in the organic waste. She performed structured interviews with responsible persons whose municipalities extensively collect separately bio-waste since years and have a low rate of unwanted materials. The respective necessary measures are presented by Henning Friege and Yasmin Eger in an article that has just been published in a scientific journal.
More information on plastic in soils is available in another blog on our website.
This project, which ran from February 2017 to October 2019, was funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). How can a sustainable approach to waste management be defined and which indicators can be applied across all stages of the value chain? Using three material flows as examples, we have developed and tested sustainability ideas in order to achieve an improvement in recycling or reuse for these material flows compared to the current situation, or to clarify which legal, economic or other obstacles stand in the way of an improvement. Project partners were N³ Nachhaltigkeitsberatung Dr. Friege & Partner (Voerde) and BASIKNET Gesellschaft für Arbeitsschutz mbH (Berlin). You can download the guidelines developed in the project here for free: