Focus Session I
Definition of waste and products. How far are we with the End of Waste procedure?

FOCUS SESSION I / 10 October 2023 / 17:00 - 18:30
Definition of waste and products. How far are we with the End of Waste procedure?

Rainer Stegmann - Hamburg University of Technology (DE)

Pierre Hennebert - Former INERIS (FR)
Maria Cristina Lavagnolo - University of Padova (IT)
Alejandro Navazas - EuRIC-European Recycling Industries' Confederation (BE)
Maria Pettersson - Luleå University of Technology (SE)

The great challenges of today are reducing/avoiding the emissions of climate gases and pollutants in the gaseous, liquid and solid form, saving natural and transformed resources, restoring biodiversity and remediation of contaminated sites. All these aspects are related to waste in its wider sense and have to be considered in the waste management area; they shall be implemented in accordance with the planetary boundary concept.

Using the today practised procedures of Circular Economy (CE) how far away are we from an end of waste society? What are the realistic potentials and limits to reach - or better - approach this goal? How realistic our recycling statistics or is there also green washing. Do we need new technologies, new regulations, more money, more efficient administration and citizen inclusion, More private or public WM companies, a broader education? How can we achieve more waste avoidance?

In how far do we have to include waste avoidance rates, produced emissions and energy consumption to evaluate CE procedures? Under which conditions is thermal treatment with energy recovery e.g., for paper, textiles and plastic an alternative to material recycling?

Products usually become waste if one wants to get rid of it; no matter in which condition the product is. What about bringing used products which are still in an acceptable condition back to the producer for refurbishing or recycling. In this way used products do not become waste in the first place, it is a kind of leasing concept with no financial revenues for the user. But there is an end of life of these refurbished/recycled products and they become waste for disposal. Is such a procedure realistic e.g., for washing machines, computer, etc.? What are potential hurdles? Can such a procedure be mandatory under the producer responsibility act?

These and may be other aspects of waste reduction and material saving are the themes for the discussion in this Focus Session.