We conducted a web-based analysis of the websites dedicated to informing the citizen about the private delivery of recyclables to the local recyclables collection centre (recycling centre) in Germany. All cities in Germany with a population of more than 100,000 inhabitants were considered (80 cities in total). Clarity of information regarding the types of materials which can be delivered by the private household to the recycling centre was assessed. Furthermore, it was analysed whether the website pro-actively encouraged higher forms of circular economy practices such as re-use and repair practices, which according to the waste management hierarchy are options of priority compared to recycling because they keep the materials at higher value in the economy. Most websites, namely 96%, contained detailed information about the materials which can be delivered by the citizen to the recycling centre. Around 10% of websites also informed in at least one language other than German, a valuable service to individuals with a background of migration. However, most websites missed the opportunity to point out the existence of alternatives to discarding valuable items as waste at the recycling centre. 43% of websites provided information about alternatives to discarding still functional products, such as links to services to donate such items to charity organisations. 19% of websites included information about RepairCafes or other local repair initiatives, thus pro-actively informing the visitor of the website about this option. The results of the study show that the German recycling centre websites fulfil their main purpose of informing the citizen whether a specific item can be delivered to the site, but the websites largely miss the opportunity to pro-actively encourage circular economy practices which sit at higher levels of the waste management hierarchy.
Kusch-Brandt, S.: Websites informing the citizen in Germany about the local recycling centre: a survey under a circular economy perspective. Proceeding “20th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference SGEM 2020”, Energy and Clean Technologies, vol. 4.1, Sofia, pp. 281-286.
Moving towards sustainable food value chains is one of the greatest and most complex challenges of our time. A Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health explores promising solutions and specific problems in this context. It becomes evident that there is still an incomplete picture regarding how innovations in the food system can be strengthened to catalyse transformations at a larger scale. Grassroot initiatives require more supporting efforts to effectively influence policies, and the lack of coordination among civil society initiates must be overcome. Sustainability-oriented companies in food supply chains also have a major role to play.
Link to website containing all publications of the Special Issue:
An important opportunity for more sustainable development pathways in an urbanising world is missed where resources remain underutilised, when they could be valorised in a sound and environmentally favourable mode. A Special Issue with the journal Resources identified promising solutions and specific challenges in the context of underutilised resources in urban environments.
Timber is a natural resource that is all around us in the form of solid wood, fibreboard or veneer in constructions, furniture, decorations, … or as pulp and paper products, or in summer times as charcoal on the BBQ. Sustainable use of timber starts with legal use of timber. Illegal logging doesn’t respect management plans, (inter)national regulations, or people’s needs. Therefore, the Global Timber Tracking Network was started in 2012 as a network of stakeholders involved in timber research, industry or governance. The aim of the GTTN is to operationalise timber tracking tools to help implement the current regulations concerning the trade in timber (for the EU that is the EUTR).
Timber tracking based on the inherent wood characteristics is the only way to be sure that wood or a wood product at the end of the supply chain is what the documents say it is, and is hence legal. There are currently 6 different timber tracking methods that can reveal species and/or geographic identity. Depending on the exact identification question, one method will be more suitable than the other. Therefore, an infogram was developed to give an overview of the current capacities of the different timber tracking tools. The guide links to a list of all experts in timber tracking, currently know of in the world.
The infographic of timber tracking tools creates the perfect base to discuss the gaps and opportunities for further developments in the field of wood identification. Two critical parts of the wood identification process, open for more advancements are the collection of reference samples and the data analysis. With global timber supply chains there is a need for harmonization of procedures to secure the reputation of the different wood identification tools and to facilitate collaborations. Also, a common language is essential for any collaboration and hence for further innovations. Therefore, it is important to investigate the current barriers of information flow and to evaluate how much information we miss if we only consider English language literature.
to implement cogeneration (or combined heat and power production (CHP)) to deliver
both electricity and heat simultaneously are state of the art, but 70%
(European Union) to 80% (worldwide) of the existing potential remains untapped.
Challenges for more widespread adoption of decentralised CHP installations fall
into three identified dimensions :
Heat valorisation dimension
 Kusch-Brandt, Sigrid: Common challenges in the implementation of decentralized combined heat and power production. Proceedings 18th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geoconference SGEM 2018, Vol. 18, Energy and Clean Technologies, Issue 4.1, 2018, pp. 219-226
quantities of valuable resources are embodied in Qatar’s wastewater, with potential
to be recovered, explores the study of Alsheyab and Kusch-Brandt based on a
mass flow analysis . The proposed concept of a wastewater refinery combines
wastewater treatment with advanced resource recovery . In this concept, wastewater
management is no longer mainly focused on achieving environmentally clean or
“fit for purpose” treated wastewater, but instead aims to also generate
value-added products. The study concludes that valorisation of organic
constituents and the recovery of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfide should be
 Alsheyab, M.A.T.; Kusch-Brandt, S. Potential Recovery Assessment of the Embodied Resources in Qatar’s Wastewater. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3055. doi: 10.3390/su10093055
in the journal Sustainability is available open access here:
More renewables in the energy mix worldwide! Renewable power, in particular, continued to rapidly grow in the last year, and overall accounted for 70% of net additions to global power generating capacity in 2017. However, heating, cooling and transport fuel together account for about four fifths of global final energy demand; but they continue to lag far behind the power sector with view to more widespread implementation of renewables.
The 2018 GSR, as comprehensive annual overview of the state of renewable energy worldwide, is available here on the website of REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century):
The 2017 edition of the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report, launched in June 2017 to provide a comprehensive annual overview of the state of renewable energy, reveals that 2016 was another extraordinary year for renewable energy.
As of 2015, renewable energy provided 19.3% of global final energy consumption, of which 9.1% were traditional biomass and 10.2% modern renewables.
In the power sector, solar photovoltaics (47% of newly installed renewable power capacity in 2016) and wind (34% of newly installed renewable power capacity) were the most dynamic areas. Overall, by end of 2016, renewables covered 24.5% of global electricity demand.
2016 was the third year in a row where decoupling of economic growth and energy-related CO2 emissions occurred.
Despite good performance of renewables and significant advancement in the global renewable energy transition, further and faster progress is required. Some areas:
Although achieved progress in adoption of renewable energy is highly remarkable, it is not fast enough to reach the Paris Agreement goals.
Deployment of renewables for heating and cooling remains strongly underdeveloped.
Community-based renewable energy initiatives, which hold potential to make a vital contribution to speed the energy transition, now face less favourable frameworks compared to some years ago in several countries, resulting in slower pace of growth. As a positive trend, community-based schemes diversify their market activities, for example to also include storage and demand-side management.
The full report is available on the REN21 website:
Assessment of WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) generation against the gross domestic product (GDP) data from 50 countries of the pan-European region reveals a very high economic elasticity, indicating that WEEE and GDP are closely interlinked, regardless of the economic developmental stage of individual countries. In this context, GDP at purchasing power parity (GDP PPP) is a more meaningful measure. In the pan-European region, an increase of 1000 international $ GDP PPP means an additional 0.5 kg WEEE is generated that requires management.
Curbing illegal logging and timber trade – call for experts in timber tracking (from both supply & user side) to participate in working groups of the Global Timber Tracking Network (GTTN) to further operationalise and promote innovative timber tracking tools: