Websites Informing About Recycling Centres Underuse Opportunity to Foster Circular Economy

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.

Information available on the 80 websites surveyed (source: Kusch-Brandt (2020))


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.

A Wastewater Refinery: The Case of Qatar’s Wastewater

Significant 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 [1]. The proposed concept of a wastewater refinery combines wastewater treatment with advanced resource recovery [1]. 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 given priority.


[1] 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

The publication in the journal Sustainability is available open access here:

Potential Recovery Assessment of the Embodied Resources in Qatar’s Wastewater

E-waste and GDP Closely Correlated – New publication

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.


Read the full publication here (open access)


(Kusch, Sigrid; Hills, Colin D.: The link between e-waste and GDP – new insights from data from the pan-European region. Resources 6 (2), 2017, 16)


Environment in Europe: UNEP’s GEO-6 Assessment for the pan-European Region

As part of the Sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6), a separate assessment for the pan-European region was launched in June 2016 at the 8th Environment for Europe Conference in Batumi, Georgia. The “GEO-6 Assessment for the pan-European region” provides a comprehensive picture of the current state, trends and an outlook for the environment in the region, and highlights factors that influence prosperity, human health and wellbeing. Focused under the lens of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda), the report demonstrates that the challenges, but also the solutions, today are highly interlinked and more systemic.

“Clean air, water, resilient ecosystems and sound management of chemicals and waste are essential for a healthy planet and healthy people. Closing resource-use loops through the promotion of circular economy principles will be a necessary part of the solution, providing much-needed jobs and economic sustainability. The transition towards an inclusive green economy in the pan-European region presents a significant opportunity, which will require the active engagement of a “coalition of the willing” at all levels of society. It demands a fundamental redesign of energy, food, mobility and urban systems, as well as a change in lifestyles. Countries in the region have much to contribute to the shaping of a shared vision of the future.” (Foreword UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, to the GEO-6 Assessment for the pan-European region)


Direct download of report as pdf: GEO-6 Assessment for the pan-European region

E-book, particularly useful for mobile access: GEO-6 Assessment for the pan-European region (E-book)

Related material and access to all GEO-6 regional reports: UNEP Science-Policy Interface


Dr. Sigrid Kusch contributed to the report as coordinating lead author of Chapter 2 “Environmental state and trends” and as co-author of Chapter 4 “Outlooks and emerging issues”.

Social Innovation and E-Waste – Hackerspaces and Co.

WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) is one of the fastest-growing waste streams worldwide and in the EU. There is urgent need to explore and find responses for sustainable management of this material stream. Read more here:

E-Waste and Hackerspaces

(Lazzarin, Lorianna; Kusch, Sigrid: E-Waste management framework and the importance of producer responsibility and proactive hackerspaces. EIIC 2015, pp. 188-192)

Equine Waste – Why is it still a Problem?

Management of equine waste and its potential valorisation is not a new issue on agendas. Why is the huge potential of horse manure currently still largely untapped? A range of explanations can be provided: Management and Valorisation of Equine Waste

(Kusch, Sigrid: Management and valorisation of equine waste: a review and SWOT analysis. News in Engineering 2 (2), 2014, pp. 47-54)

GSDR Brief ‘Industrial Symbiosis’ online

The brief “Industrial symbiosis: powerful mechanisms for sustainable use of environmental resources” was submitted by Sigrid Kusch to the UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2015. All briefs are open for rating and discussion until 31 March 2015. Some of the topics will be featured in the relevant chapters of the 2015 GSDR report. This provides a good opportunity to bring selected topics forward.

Link to the platform with all briefs:

Direct link to the brief “Industrial symbiosis”:


Update 28 June 2015:

The GSDR Report 2015, Advance Unedited Version, is available on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: