Germany planning to expand end-of-waste status to help secure raw materials


Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has set out plans to help it secure raw materials that includes rolling out end-of-waste criteria for certain materials.

While it doesn’t specify which materials as yet, the policy paper outlines that Germany plans to legally clarify when a material becomes waste and when it becomes end-of-waste.


The German Government has also proposed state warehousing of critical raw materials to ensure supply to its industries.

In the Key Issues paper Ways to a sustainable and resilient supply of raw materials, it recognises that some materials such as paper and glass are already reaching 90% recycling rates. But overall, the percentage of material kept in the cycle through recycling is only 13%, which puts it sixth place in the EU.

Therefore, Germany plans to combine its raw materials and circular economy strategy. This will mean:

  • Circular and recyclable product design as set out by the European Commission
  • Practical and legally secure delimitation of the beginning and end-of-waste status
  • Standardisation of terms and definitions when something is a product, waste, raw material, secondary raw material or recyclate.
  • Development of recycling infrastructure to meet binding European standards
  • Procurement to promote the circular economy
  • Optimising the options to remove contamination from recyclate
  • Using digital technologies to optimise material flows
  • Expanding recycling capacities in Germany and Europe.

Germany also plans to provide financial support to encourage more extraction of primary and recycled raw materials in its domestic economy, as well as creating strategic partnerships with trusted nations that can supply it with materials it cannot access itself.

At present, these are just proposals by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, but are likely to provide a framework for upcoming legislation.