Resource management

Resource management

Sustainability assessment and resource management

Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are corporations’ initiatives to evaluate and take responsibility for the company's effects on environmental and social wellbeing. Some areas of corporate culture have already begun to adopt a thinking that balances the pursuit of profit with a commitment to ethical conduct. Based on GRI G4 and ISO 26000 standards, we support and guide you throughout the implementation of sustainability, environmental and resource management assessments.

Sorting analyses

Biowaste and residual waste sorting analyses performed with our mobile sieve jigging unit enable the development of sustainable and tailor-made waste management concepts and material flow models. This allows, for instance, municipalities, urban, and rural districts to tap the potential material and energy value of “buried” valuable recyclates.

Data from practical sorting activities is complemented with analytical laboratory testing in order to ensure an integral assessment.  

Processing technologies

Recycling is a truly complex, dynamic problem which comprises a number of stages: collection, separation, sorting and end processing. Each stage has an imperfect process efficiency and if those efficiencies are multiplied together over several use lifetimes, even well-run recycling processes will lead to a material dissipation. Therefore, the limits of recycling performance depend on the optimization of each of these related factors.

The level of sophistication in metal recovery from recyclates can exceed that of geological resources due to their complex composition and structure. The mix of compounds in particles of various origins, from complete devices or parts of them, or any type of by-products, may vary from a single compound to a mix of several compounds.

One of the key topics of Fraunhofer IWKS is the development of new processing technologies that enable the most efficient recovery of secondary raw materials and maximize the mass of liberated particles in a set of recycled material. Due to the heterogeneity of some recyclates, new scalable, praxis-oriented sorting solutions, apart from the classical sorting processes on a physical basis, are being developed at our research facilities.  

Cascading principle

The Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) defines cascading principle as a:

 “Strategy  for  using  raw  materials  or  the  products  made  from them  in  chronologically  sequential  steps  as  long,  often  and efficiently  as possible  for  materials  and  only  to  recover  energy  from them at the end of the product life cycle. It is based on the use of so-called ‘cascades of use’ that flow from higher levels of the value chain down to lower levels, increasing the productivity of the raw material”

Consequently, cascading use of secondary raw materials implies that energy use will follow material use. Based on this concept, Fraunhofer IWKS works on innovative closed-loop strategies, that enable the integration of zero waste approaches across the production chain.