Guest Blog: ISWA Germany and IWWG at the IE Expo 2024

May 15, 2024 | ISWA blog, ISWA news

Michael Nelles

Michael Nelles

Scientific Managing Director, DBFZ Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gemeinnützige GmbH DBFZ, the German Centre for Biomass Research and Chair of Waste and Resource Management , University of Rostock Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Within the last 25 years, China’s waste sector  has developed very fast. Starting from direct landfilling, waste incineration and the first steps to recycling, China is now on the road towards a real sustainable Circular Economy (CE). Continuing along this path, China is expected to become one of the world’s leading countries in this field!  

At the same time, IEexpo has developed into the largest environmental technology trade fair in Asia. During the next 3 days you will experience a vast amount of innovative waste treatment technologies and innovations. Since my first visit to IEexpo in 2004 it is very impressive to see the fast growth and qualitative development. Associations such as the “German RETech Partnership – Recycling and Waste Management made in Germany” and other CE-Stakeholder like the “German Waste Association” (DGAW) are supporting the IE Expo in Shanghai since its beginning.

International networks such as the “International Solid Waste Association” (ISWA) and the International “Waste Working Group” (IWWG), in which China and Europe/Germany are largely involved, are also important supporting organisations of the IEexpo and the Circular Economy globally.  

I had the honour to represent ISWA (Germany) and together with IWWG, we organised two joint sessions to discuss the current situation and development of Waste Management.  

In the first session “Waste & Resources Management Potential for Climate Change Mitigation,” there were initially very interesting statements from Singapore, China, and Germany, followed by an intense discussion on how waste management in Asia and Europe can be further developed into a true circular economy. This discussion specifically addressed waste streams such as construction and demolition waste, municipal solid waste (MSW), biogenic waste, and plastics. However, the central result to note here is that a climate-neutral world by mid-century can only be achieved if we significantly reduce our resource and energy consumption, particularly in developed countries. Additionally, we need a global energy system that relies 100% on renewable energies (wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, bioenergy) and the transition of the global economy to a circular economy. Waste and circular economy thus play a central role in a sustainable solution. 

In the 2nd session “Sustainable Circular Economy for a Climate Neutral World,” the previous positive as well as negative developments in waste management in China and Europe were presented and analyzed, along with indicating the future necessary developments. In Germany and China, waste management has become the most successful sector in avoiding or reducing direct and especially indirect greenhouse gas emissions. Subsequently, best practice examples for the recycling/disposal of electronic waste, hazardous waste, and biowaste from Germany were presented and discussed during the session. Once again, it became clear that a highly developed circular economy is a central requirement for a climate-neutral world! There is still much to be done, and cooperation between Asia and Europe is an important part of the solution! 

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