A selection of business opportunities at a glance: Circular fashion
With an estimated turnover of EUR 63 billion in 2017, Germany is home to one of the largest clothing markets in Europe (Statista 2017). Until 2020, the market is expected to grow by at least 2.4% annually (Statista 2017). But let’s take a look into the more distant future: What will fashion look like in 2050? “Environmentally friendly, resource-saving, and recyclable”, is what the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry says. However, the development of the market for circular fashion and sustainable textiles suggets that the future is now:
According to the Slow Fashion Monitor 2016, for more than 73% of consumers, sustainability is important or even very important when making a purchasing decision. Among women, 53% are willing to pay more for environmental-friendly, sustainable, and fairtrade clothes (TextilWirtschaft 2016). This offers new opportunities for the development, production, and sale of sustainable textiles and clothing recycling in Germany.
A selection of business opportunities at a glance: Packaging recycling
Demographic changes and new lifestyles, such as the increase of one- or two-person households, an ageing society, a growing tendency to eat out and the rise of mail-order businesses and e-commerce have led to a constant increase in packaging waste in Germany. While in 1991, packaging waste totalled 15.6 million tons and even decreased for some time after that, it then peaked in 2015 at 18.2 million tons (Federal Environment Agency 2016). Of this, only 69.3% was recycled (Federal Environment Agency 2016). The recently introduced German Packaging Act demands higher recycling quotas for packaging in order to close the gap, thus enhancing the need for new and improved plastic recycling technologies.
The need to improve recycling quotas is especially great for plastics, which represent 16.8% of all packaging waste in Germany (Federal Environment Agency 2016). The ban on plastics waste imports to China has increased the need for more and improved recycling of plastics within Germany.
Recovery rates for packaging waste in Germany
|Current recovery rate||Minimum recovery rate as of 2019||Minimum recovery rate as of 2022|
|Tinplate and ferrous metals||70%||80%||90%|
|Paper and cardboard||70%||85%||90%|
|Source: Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 18/11274 & BMUB|
A selection of business opportunities at a glance: Recycling of construction materials
In 2015, more than 409 million metric tons of waste was generated in Germany, with a recycling rate of only 68%. With 209 million metric tons of waste every year, building and construction materials represent the lion’s share of waste, therefore making it one of the most attractive markets for recycling technologies in Germany.
Within German buildings, 220 million tons of wood, 10.5 billion tons of mineral construction material, and 100 million tons of metal (estimation, Gabriel 2010) are waiting to be extracted and represent a huge potential for reuse and recycling. Innovative solutions and new technologies are therefore needed to meet the pressing demand for construction material recycling in Germany.