WIT Press

Use Of Material Flow Analysis For Assessing Solid Waste Management In Germany Regarding Sustainable Solutions


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WIT Press


N. Hartlieb, K.-R. Bräutigam, M. Achternbosch, C. Kupsch & G. Sardemann


Production and consumption activities lead to the depletion of limited resources and to the pressure on environmental sinks. Despite their adverse effects on the environment heavy metals like cadmium are still used in industry and consumer products. As a consequence a special treatment of the resulting wastes is necessary in many cases. Material flow analysis was used to assess waste management practices in Germany regarding sustainability with a focus on ecological aspects. As an example cadmium was traced from its production, through its various applications to the recycling and disposal of the used products. Balances were performed for the years 1995 until 2000. Cadmium is generated as a by-product of zinc production. In the observed timeframe zinc production in Germany did not change significantly leading to constant cadmium amounts. However, due to recent regulations and voluntary agreements of the industry cadmium containing products like pigments and stabilisers have been banned increasingly from the German market. The consumption of Ni/Cd cells has stayed constant. To reduce the environmental releases of cadmium different measures have been taken: Maximising zinc recycling and cutting back on the use of primary zinc; Substitution of cadmium in products where it is possible e.g. in pigments and stabilisers and by replacing Ni/Cd cells by lithium- or NiMH-batteries; Collection and recycling of products in order to reduce the amount of cadmium in domestic wastes. Emissions of cadmium into air and water bodies are declining. However, concentrations in soils and sediments show no reduction. Input of cadmium in agricultural soils occurs mainly via two pathways: atmospheric deposition and application of mineral fertilizers. According to various sources in the literature, both input pathways lie in the same order of magnitude. Keywords: material flow analysis, cadmium, sustainable waste management.


material flow analysis, cadmium, sustainable waste management.