Germany has accumulated an enormous wealth of buildings, infrastructures and other durable goods. This constitutes a valuable reservoir of secondary raw materials – an anthropogenic material stockpile, one could say. It should be understood as representing a capital reserve for the future, which must be systematically managed.
This capital reserve has so far been largely ignored in the basically input-dominated discussion on resource efficiency. This can be attributed in part to the insufficient body of knowledge on the size and composition of this material stockpile as well as how it changes over time.
The project entitled “Mapping the Anthropogenic Material Stockpile in Germany in Order to Optimize the Use of Secondary Raw Materials” (KartAL) is intended to greatly expand the knowledge base in this regard. It will form the groundwork for a continually updated databank model of the anthropogenic stockpile of raw materials.
To realise this aim it was necessary to estimate the size and composition of the current anthropogenic stockpile of raw materials in the form of buildings, infrastructures and selected durable goods in Germany, as well as to undertake analyses of data sources and parameters which enable us to describe dynamic trends in the anthropogenic stockpile.
The stockpile was examined from various perspectives. Top-down analyses were carried out to examine the material stockpile and flows using general economic data, as well as bottom-up analyses, which employ goods-based material indicators in order to extrapolate up to the material stockpile and flows. Material flows were analyzed using both of these approaches, focussing on the material composition of specified goods and groups of goods. This research was supplemented by an investigation of the waste sector, specifically the ratios of recycled waste materials used in the production of goods.
The project findings present a detailed picture of material flows and stockpiles connected with and originating in durable goods in Germany. In addition to the extensive data generated, a concept was developed for monitoring long-term trends in the anthropogenic material stockpile by the continuous updating of changes to this stockpile.