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Standardization roadmap for the circular economy

DIN, DKE and VDI together with more than 550 experts have developed a standardization roadmap for the Circular Economy.


On January 19, 2023, the Circular Economy Standardization Roadmap was published by the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies at DIN (VKE) and the Association of German Engineers (VDI) and handed over to the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), Christiane Rohleder, in Berlin. According to the BMUV, the elaboration describes which challenges in the field of the Circular Economy the industries are facing and which norms and standards are needed to meet them. State Secretary Rohleder said of the project funded by the ministry, "Standards and norms are a key prerequisite for the entire economy to succeed in the urgent transition to a circular economy. Without standards, neither consumers nor companies can recognize the quality of materials, products or even processes. But it is only through recognizable good quality that trust can develop in a market. That is why standards are important, for example, so that a strong market for recycled materials can emerge. The German government wants to advance the topic of standardization for a genuine circular economy in the EU and define requirements for products throughout Europe - in dialog with manufacturers. Important preliminary work has been done for this with the Circular Economy standardization roadmap." On the basis of the results obtained, the next step will be concrete implementation.

According to the information provided, experts from industry, science, the public sector and civil society collaborated on the preparation of the roadmap for standardization on the circular economy. The roadmap includes seven focus topics, which are aligned with the focus topics of the EU's Circular Economy Action Plan: Digitalization, Business Models and Management, Electrical Engineering and ICT (Information and Communication Technology), Batteries, Packaging, Plastics, Textiles, and Buildings and Communities. The roadmap is intended to provide an overview of the status quo of standardization in these areas and, above all, to identify needs for future standards. In the area of packaging, the roadmap addresses different approaches: from packaging design to circular infrastructures for sorting and recycling to the conformity of recyclates. In addition, the roadmap identifies a need for standardization in the reusable sector to support reusable concepts in practice. It also focuses on uniform methodologies, metrics and thresholds to assess the recyclability of packaging. For plastics, the roadmap identifies standardization needs with reference to topics such as: Sustainability Assessment, Traceability, Digital Product Passport, Quality Requirements, Recyclability, and Mechanical and Chemical Recycling. The authors of the roadmap also see a need for standardization in the processes upstream of recycling, among others, and advocate quality-related standardization of input streams.
In addition, five cross-cutting issues were identified during the development process, which are highly relevant to all seven focal topics and should therefore also be considered comprehensively in the course of implementation: Sustainability Assessment, Life Extension, Digital Product Passport, End of Waste, and Recyclability.
In the picture from left to right: VDI Director Dieter Westerkamp, Christoph Winterhalter, Chairman of the DIN Board, Christiane Rohleder, State Secretary at the BMUV, Florian Spiteller, Head of External Relations & Support, DKE.


Further information: to download the Circular Economy standardization roadmap (in German)



  • Pressrelease BMUV, (Jan. 19, 2023)
  • Photo: © VDI, Stefan Zeitz


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