ReziProK: Research Projects for Resource Protection

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:

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Circular economy and toxic-free environment: a tricky relationship

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.

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Waste management in Cape Coast (Ghana)

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.

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What are the implications of the European Strategy for Plastics?

What does the EU Plastics Strategy mean for the future development of plastic products, and how does it affect the world’s oceans? N³ is deeply involved in issues related to chemical and waste management policy. In light of this, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK Mittlerer Niederrhein) invited Henning Friege to deliver a lecture on the EU Plastics Strategy.

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Global Chemicals Outlook now available!

The new Global Chemicals Outlook report has been publsihed! The report’s core message is simple. As the acting executive director of UN Environment, Joyce Msuya, succinctly puts it: “We cannot live without chemicals. Nor can we live with the consequences of their bad management.” We are convinced that the Concept of Sustainable Chemistry will play a major role in future production and application of chemicals. And we are proud that we were invited to comment the report in its drafting stage. Our pesent activities focus on the interfaces between chemicals, waste, and products, especially on the legal and practical aspects. If the society wants to re-use products and to recycle waste instead of disposing used products, a clear understanding of the fate of hazardous compounds in waste is urgently needed. Please visit our download centre for further reports and publications.

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