Circular Economy

In a circular economy, material cycles are closed as much as possible.

Source: BAM

Circular economy: Using resources sustainably and safely

Already in the 1960s, economists developed the model of a circular economy model. It aims to optimize the utility value of resources along the entire value chain and to close material cycles.

In 2019, the European Commission confirmed and updated its 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan. The German government supports these international efforts with its sustainability strategy and the resource efficiency program.

The Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) is involved in these activities in many ways: We conduct research on the circular economy in the field of process and product safety as well as environmental safety. In particular, we focus on resource efficiency by developing new processes for extracting of valuable resources from waste and for the recycling of mass residues.

We analyze the durability and ageing behavior of plastics and investigate the environmental compatibility and durability of various products and materials, e.g. innovative building products made from waste.

BAM is also active in national and international committees for standardization and regulation in the field of circular economy and promotes the exchange of knowledge between research and industry.

In this way, we make an important contribution to the transformation of the German and European economy towards a circular economy.

Our services and competences

  • Identification of recycling potentials through chemical and mineralogical investigations
  • Development of recycling processes for the most complete possible utilisation of wastes
  • Focus on industrially produced bulk residues such as metallurgical slags, incineration ashes and red mud
  • Development of processes for the recovery of critical raw materials
  • Studies on nutrient cycles and their closure through recycling processes
  • Thermo-analytical investigations on waste materials and industrial by-products
  • Thermochemical investigations on material separation
  • Studies on the quality and application of recycled building materials
  • Research on the durability of materials and structures
  • Research on the development of products with better recyclability


  • R-Rhenania - Modified Rhenania phosphate from sewage sludge ash for Bavaria
  • SlagCEM - High-quality cements and pig iron from steelmaking slags
  • Recovery of zinc from steel mill dusts
  • Development of an in-situ LIBS (Laser Induced Plasma Spectroscopy) analysis for pyrometallurgical processes
  • CF-Pyro - Material-energetic utilisation of waste containing carbon fibres in pyrometallurgy
  • Gypsum recycling 2.0 - Technical preparation for making gypsum fibre boards and synthetic gypsums available for the production of RC gypsum
  • ExtraWERT - Estimation of additional recyclable materials that can be extracted from wastewater and sewage sludge of municipal and industrial origin

Find BAM research projects in the field of environment and other topics in the
ReSEARCH BAM database


Kreislaufwirtschaft - Sicherheit im Fokus - Circular Economy - Fokus on Security

Further Information