19 Jun 2024, 11:55
Julian Wettengel

German ministry presents draft circular economy strategy, aims to halve raw materials use by 2045

Clean Energy Wire

The German environment ministry has presented a draft circular economy strategy as "a crucial element to reach climate targets and to create new possibilities for growth, jobs and competitiveness." The government aims to make economic processes more circular and resource-efficient, arguing that this would also strengthen the country's resilience. The strategy's targets include reducing the annual per capita consumption of raw materials from 15 tonnes today to 8 tonnes by 2045; doubling the share of circular materials used from 2021 to 2030 in line with EU targets; supporting the targets from the EU's Critical Raw Materials Act, such as meeting 10 percent of strategic resource demand through domestic production; and reducing per capita waste 10 percent by 2030 and 20 percent by 2045. The draft will now be debated among ministries and is up for public consultation, with the goal to decide a strategy later this year.

NGO Germanwatch said the strategy is a long overdue decision to set the course for climate and resource protection and for Germany as a business location, with the potential to make the country a frontrunner. However, this would only be true if the government "does not hide behind the sometimes very vague formulations," said policy officer Luisa Denter. "It must be implemented quickly and all ministries must cooperate."

Circular economy concepts have increasingly shifted into focus amid energy transition efforts in recent years to increase supply security, reduce costs and make processes in the economy truly sustainable. Besides technologies, such as renewable power installations or electric vehicles, the construction sector holds a vast potential for better reusing and recycling raw materials. Applying circular economy principles to construction holds great promises for greening buildings. Government advisors recently called for a new sufficiency approach "to live more fairly and within ecological limits in line with our values."

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